Physical Activity and Reduced Intra-abdominal Fat in Midlife African-American and White Women

Sheila A. Dugan, Susan A. Everson-Rose, Kelly Karavolos, Elizabeth F. Avery, Deidre E. Wesley, Lynda H. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The purpose of our study was to determine whether self-reported physical activity (PA), including recreational, household, and exercise activities, is associated with intra-abdominal fat (IAF) in community-dwelling white and black midlife women. We performed a cross-sectional study of 369 women from the Chicago site of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) ancillary study, the SWAN Fat Patterning Study. PA level was the independent variable, and IAF, assessed by computerized tomography (CT) scan, was the dependent variable. Measures were obtained at SWAN Fat Patterning Baseline visit between August 2002 and December 2005. Linear regression models explored the association between PA and IAF. The first model included IAF as the outcome and total score PA as the main predictor, adjusting for total percent fat mass, age, and ethnicity. The second model included education, parity, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) level, and depressive symptoms, measured by Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale. Each 1-point higher total PA score was associated with a 4.0 cm2 lower amount of IAF (P = 0.004), independent of total percent fat mass, age, ethnicity, SHBG level, educational level, CES-D, and parity. Associations did not differ between white and black women. This study demonstrates a significant negative association between PA and IAF independent of multiple covariates in midlife women. Our findings suggest that motivating white and black women to increase PA during midlife may lessen IAF, which may have a positive impact on subsequent development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1260-1265
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO).


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