Physical activity and the metabolic syndrome in a tri-ethnic sample of women

Melinda L. Irwin, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis, Cheryl L. Addy, Russell R. Pate, J. Larry Durstine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the association of moderate-intensity physical activity (PA), vigorous-intensity PA, and maximal treadmill duration with the metabolic syndrome among African-American (n = 49), Native-American (n = 46), and white (n = 51) women (ages, 40 to 83 years), enrolled in the Cross-Cultural Activity Participation Study. Research Methods and Procedures: The metabolic syndrome was defined as three or more of the following risk factors: waist circumference >88 cm, blood pressure ≥130/85 mm Hg, fasting glucose ≥110 mg/dL, hypertriglyceridemia (≥150 mg/dL), and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol <50 mg/dL. PA was determined from detailed PA records that included all PA performed during two consecutive 4-day periods. Maximal treadmill duration was determined from a graded exercise test. Women were categorized into quartiles of moderate-intensity PA, vigorous-intensity PA, and maximal treadmill duration. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios of the metabolic syndrome as a function of the four PA categories, adjusted for age, ethnicity, study site, menopausal status, and use of hormone-replacement therapy. Results: The adjusted odds ratio for the metabolic syndrome was 0.18 (95% confidence interval, 0.33 to 0.90) for women in the highest category of moderate-intensity PA compared with women in the lowest category (p = 0.01 for trend). Similar associations were observed for the metabolic syndrome with vigorous-intensity PA (p = 0.01 for trend) and maximal treadmill duration (p = 0.0004 for trend). Discussion: Higher levels of moderate and vigorous-intensity PA and greater maximal treadmill duration were inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome among an ethnically diverse sample of women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1037
Number of pages8
JournalObesity research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fitness
  • Insulin-resistance syndrome
  • Race
  • Syndrome X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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