Accelerometer-assessed physical activity and incident diabetes in a population covering the adult life span: the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Nov 11;112(5):1318-1327. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa232.


Background: The association between accelerometer-assessed physical activity and risk of diabetes remains unclear, especially among US Hispanic/Latino adults who have lower levels of physical activity and a higher diabetes burden compared with other racial/ethnical populations in the country.

Objectives: To examine the association between accelerometer-assessed physical activity and incident diabetes in a US Hispanic/Latino population.

Methods: We included 7280 participants of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos who aged 18-74 y and free of diabetes at baseline. Data on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were collected using a 7-d accelerometer measurement. Incident diabetes was assessed after a mean ± SD of 6.0 ± 0.8 y using standard procedures including blood tests. RRs and 95% CIs of diabetes associated with MVPA were estimated using survey Poisson regressions. The associations of MVPA with 6-y changes in adiposity measures were also examined.

Results: A total of 871 incident cases of diabetes were identified. MVPA was inversely and nonlinearly associated with risk of diabetes (P-nonlinearity = 0.006), with benefits accruing rapidly at the lower end of MVPA range (<30 min/d) and leveling off thereafter. The association differed by population age (P-interaction = 0.006). Higher MVPA was associated with lower risk of diabetes among individuals older than 50 y (RRQ4 versus Q1 = 0.50; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.73; P-trend < 0.001) but not among younger individuals (RRQ4 versus Q1 = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.66, 1.47; P-trend = 0.92). An inverse association between MVPA and 6-y gain in waist circumference was also limited to the older group (P-interaction with age < 0.001).

Conclusions: Among US Hispanic/Latino adults, baseline accelerometer-derived MVPA was inversely associated with incident diabetes only among individuals aged 50 y and older. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings and to clarify potential mechanisms underlying the possible age differences in the MVPA-diabetes association. This study was registered at as NCT02060344.

Keywords: Hispanic American; accelerometers; diabetes; physical activity; weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation*
  • Accelerometry / methods
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult

Associated data