Physical activity, BMI and metabolic risk in Portuguese adolescents

Fernanda Karina dos Santos, Thayse Natacha Queiroz Ferreira Gomes, Michele Caroline de Souza, Raquel Nichele Chaves, Daniel Monteiro de Vilhena Santos, Sara Isabel Sampaio Pereira, Alessandra da Silva Borges, José António Ribeiro Maia


It has been reported, in the last decades, a significant decrease in physical activity (PA) levels, with a consequent increase in obesity and metabolic risk factors among youth. The aims of this study were to describe PA levels, the prevalence of overweight/obesity and metabolic risk factors, and to examine the association between PA and body mass index (BMI) with metabolic risk among Portuguese youth. The sample comprises 212 Portuguese adolescents (12-16 years old). Height and weight were measured. PA was estimated with the Bouchard questionnaire (3 days recall), as well as with the use of a pedometer (used for 5 consecutive days). Metabolic risk factors comprised fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and waist circumference. Subjects were classified as normal weight, overweight or obese according to BMI; the maturational status was indirectly estimated with the maturity offset procedure. A continuous metabolic risk score was computed (zMR) and PA values were divided into tertiles. Qui-square test, t-test and ANOVA were used in statistical analyses. SPSS 18.0 and WinPepi softwares were used and p<0.05. A moderate to high prevalence of overweight/obesity and HDL-cholesterol was found, as well as a high prevalence of high blood pressure and low to moderate PA levels among Portuguese youth. The relationship between BMI and zMR showed that obese adolescents have higher zMR when compared to normal weight or overweight adolescents. This finding suggests that increased levels of PA and reduction in the prevalence of overweight/obesity may have a positive role against the development of metabolic risk factors.


Physical activity; BMI; Metabolic risk


The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.