The links between adolescent biological maturity, physical activity and fat mass development, and subsequent cardiometabolic risk in young adulthood
Sherar, Lauren B
The metabolic syndrome has become a major public health challenge world-wide and, at least in the industrialized world, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is increasing. There is evidence to show that biological and lifestyle risk factors for metabolic syndrome are present in adolescence, which suggests that the antecedents of the disease may lie in early life. The period of adolescence is characterized by a decline in physical activity (PA; lack of PA is a lifestyle risk factor for metabolic syndrome) and an increase in fat mass deposition (a biological risk factor for metabolic syndrome). Therefore, investigating how the development of these two variables relates to adult cardiometabolic risk is important to fuel early intervention. A factor which has the potential to influence these two risk factors, and thus ultimately the metabolic syndrome, is the timing of biological maturity (i.e. whether an individual is early, average or late maturing when compared to peers of the same age). The influence of biological maturity has largely been overlooked in previous research; therefore, the general objective of this thesis was to investigate the associations between biological maturity, adolescent PA and fat mass development, and young adult cardiometabolic risk. Three studies were necessary to realize this objective, and together help to elucidate the role of biological maturity in the adolescent decline in physical activity, fat development, and the development of adult metabolic syndrome. Ultimately, this information will aid in the development and implementation of interventions to decrease prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Study 1: The purpose of study 1 was to investigate whether observed gender differences in objectively measured PA in children (8 to 13 years) are confounded by biological maturity differences. Methods: Four hundred and one children (194 boys and 207 girls) volunteered for this study. An Actigraph accelerometer was used to obtain 7 consecutive days of minute-by-minute PA data on each participant. Minutes of moderate to vigorous PA per day (MVPA), continuous minutes of MVPA per day (CMVPA), and minutes of vigorous PA per day (VPA) were derived from the accelerometer data. Age at peak height velocity (APHV), an indicator of somatic maturity, was predicted and individuals aligned by this biological age (years from APHV). Gender differences in the PA variables were analyzed using a two-way (gender X age) ANOVA. Results: Levels of PA decreased with increasing chronological ages in both genders (p
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentCollege of Kinesiology
ProgramCollege of Kinesiology
SupervisorBaxter-Jones, Adam D. G.
CommitteeMuhajarine, Nazeem; Martin, Susanna; Faulkner, Robert A.; Chilibeck, Philip D.; Timmons, Brian