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Table 1 Overview of longitudinal studies on the association between PA and the outcome of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2)

From: The association between physical activity with incident obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension in adults: a systematic review of longitudinal studies published after 2012

Author Country Characteristics Follow-up time Predictor variable: Physical activity Outcome of interest Main results
Bell et al. (2014) [25] UK, Whitehall II study N = 3670, 73% male, 55.5 ± 6.0 years 10 years; Baseline 1997–1999
Follow-up: 2002–2004, 2007–2009
Self-reported, duration of MVPA (h/wk) Incident obesity OR [95% CI]: low level PA as referencea:
­-Low: 0–1.5 -High level PA 0.64 [0.44, 0.93] after 5 years
-Intermediate: 1.56–4.25
-High: 4.27–20.56 -High level PA 0.63 [0.45, 0.88] after 10 years
Montgomerie et al. (2014) [26] Australia N = 1521, 50.6% male, age 44.6 ± 16.22 years 2898.9 ± 402.29 days
Baseline: 1999–2003, follow-up: 2004–2006, 2008–2010
Self-reported, score: frequency x time per session x intensity Incident obesity RR [95% CI]: Association between physical inactivity & incident obesityb:
-Inactive: < 100 sedentary, 100–1600 low
-1.42 [1.03, 1.95] p = 0.030
-Active: 1600–3200 moderate, > 3200 high
Pavey et al. (2016) [27] Australia N = 2735 women, 24.6 (20.6–28.5) years 12 years Baseline: 2000
Follow-up: 2012
Self-reported, score (MET-min/wk) Change in BMI category OR [95% CI]: increasing cumulative PA with very low activity as referencec:
-Very low (< 250)
-Transition to obesity: 0.73 [0.59, 0.90], p < .05
OR [95% CI], very high cumulative PA with very low activity as referencec:
-Low (250 to < 500)
-Active (500 to < 1000)
-Very active (> 1000)
-Transition to obesity 0.52 [0.30, 0.92], p < .05
  1. Abbreviation: BMI Body Mass Index, CI confidence interval, h hour, MET metabolic equivalent, min minutes, MVPA moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, N number of participants, OR odds ratio, p p-value, PA physical activity, RR relative risk, SD Standard deviation, wk week
  2. a Model adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity; b Model adjusted for age, sex, chronic conditions (diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and mental health); c Model adjusted for educational level, area of residence, number of children, occupation, work time walking, work time in heavy labor, smoking status, alcohol consumption, energy intake, dieting, oral contraceptive pill use, number of chronic conditions