Association of Changes in Physical Activity and Incidence and Remission of Overall and Abdominal Obesity in 113,950 Adults

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Mar;28(3):660-668. doi: 10.1002/oby.22709. Epub 2020 Feb 3.


Objective: This study examined the dose-response relationship between changes in physical activity (PA) and subsequent incidence or remission of overall and abdominal obesity.

Methods: A total of 113,950 healthy individuals aged ≥ 18 years participating in the Taiwan MJ Cohort were included. Two-year changes in PA between the first and second examination were linked to subsequent development and remission of overall and abdominal obesity.

Results: During a mean 5.6-year follow-up after the second examination, 9,991 and 11,488 individuals developed overall and abdominal obesity, respectively; also, 3,588 and 3,156 participants with obesity lost sufficient weight or reduced their waist circumference to be classified as nonobese. Compared with no changes in PA, the multivariable hazard ratio (95% CI) of overall obesity was 0.95 (0.90-1.00) for a PA increase of 0.01 to 3.74 metabolic equivalent hours (MET-h) per week and 0.86 (0.80-0.91) for a PA increase of ≥ 3.75 MET-h per week. Corresponding values for remission of obesity were 1.00 (0.91-1.09) and 1.16 (1.05-1.28). Similar results were observed for the development and remission of abdominal obesity. Any decrease in PA was not associated with the risk of obesity outcomes when compared with a stable pattern (0 MET-h/week).

Conclusions: Increasing PA was consistently associated with a progressively lower incidence and higher remission of overall and abdominal obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies