Research examines the relationship between body fat and physical activity in girls and boys


Women don’t lose physique fats from being extra bodily energetic. Neither is how spherical they’re linked to how energetic they’re. However researchers have discovered these hyperlinks for boys.

Being bodily energetic has main well being advantages. However the bodily exercise impacts girls and boys otherwise. New analysis has examined the connection between physique fats and bodily exercise in kids.

We appeared on the connection between objectively measured bodily exercise and the proportion of physique fats in women and boys.”

Silje Steinsbekk, Professor, NTNU’s (the Norwegian College of Science and Expertise) Division of Psychology

The researchers measured contributors’ physique composition fairly than their weight and top. They posed such questions as:

Does elevated bodily exercise result in a decrease share of physique fats over time? Or is it maybe the opposite manner round, that individuals who achieve extra physique fats over time turn out to be much less bodily energetic?

Physique fats and bodily exercise in women are unrelated

The researchers examined the kids each two years from the age of 6 till they had been 14 years outdated. They discovered that the extent of exercise impacts the sexes otherwise.

“In women, we discovered no connection between their bodily exercise and quantity of physique fats. Elevated bodily exercise did not result in much less physique fats within the women, and physique fats had no impact on adjustments of their bodily exercise,” says Tonje Zahl-Thanem, a former analysis fellow and first writer.

However for boys, it is completely different. The quantity of physique fats influences their bodily exercise.

Extra physique fats in boys ends in much less bodily exercise

“Elevated physique fats in boys led to much less bodily exercise two years later, once they had been 8, 10 and 12 years outdated,” says Zahl-Thanem.

With one exception, elevated bodily exercise had no impact on adjustments in physique fats.

“We discovered that boys who’re extra bodily energetic once they’re 12 years outdated have a decrease proportion of physique fats once they’re 14. This wasn’t the case at an earlier developmental stage,” Steinsbekk says.

A number of potential causes for variations between the sexes

The examine didn’t examine the explanations for these variations, however the researchers level out that giant our bodies are heavier and require extra exertion when exercising, which can clarify why boys whose physique fats will increase turn out to be much less energetic over time. However why is not this the case for women?

“Right here we are able to solely speculate, however boys are typically extra bodily energetic than women, so when boys scale back their exercise stage, the bodily affect is larger,” Steinsbekk says.

We additionally know that kids with giant our bodies are much less glad with their our bodies, and physique dissatisfaction is related to much less bodily exercise in boys, however not in women.

“Boys’ bodily exercise might be much more competitively oriented than women’, and extra physique fats makes it tougher to succeed. Each of those circumstances will help clarify why elevated physique fats results in much less bodily exercise in boys, however not women,” says Lars Wichstrøm, a professor in NTNU’s Division of Psychology and likewise co-author of the examine.

It is also that women usually tend to keep bodily exercise when their proportion of physique fats will increase, as a result of extra consideration is paid to ladies’ our bodies and look.

Physique fats impacts sedentary exercise in boys

The researchers additionally examined the hyperlink between inactivity or a sedentary way of life and physique fats. In the identical manner that they objectively measured bodily exercise, in addition they measured how lengthy the contributors had been sedentary throughout the day.

“The outcomes present that boys who had a rise within the proportion of physique fats had a corresponding enhance in sedentary exercise two years later. This carried via all of the age teams studied, from the age of 6 via age 14.

In different phrases, boys whose proportion of physique fats will increase turn out to be extra sedentary.

For the ladies, nevertheless, there was no hyperlink right here both. The proportion of physique fats didn’t have an effect on their stage of inactivity over time, and they didn’t turn out to be much less energetic by gaining extra physique fats.

“In sum, we discovered a hyperlink between bodily exercise, sedentary way of life and fats share in boys, however not in women,” Steinsbekk says.

Trondheim Early Safe Research

The researchers used figures from the Trondheim Early Safe Research (TESS). They adopted virtually 1000 kids at two-year intervals from once they had been 4 years outdated. The contributors are actually 18 years outdated, and the eighth survey is underway.

On this examine, the analysis group used information at 5 completely different instances, when the contributors had been 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 years outdated. The Trondheim Early Safe Research has supplied information for plenty of research on kids’s growth and well being.

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