Sex as a moderator of body composition following a randomized controlled lifestyle intervention among Latino youth with obesity

Kiley B. Vander Wyst, Micah L. Olson, Colleen S. Keller, Erica G. Soltero, Allison N. Williams, Armando Peña, Stephanie L. Ayers, Justin Jager, Gabriel Q. Shaibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Body composition differences between males and females emerge during adolescence and continue throughout adulthood; however, whether sex moderates body composition changes in adolescents with obesity after an intervention is unknown. Objective: To examine sex as a moderator of changes in adiposity following lifestyle intervention. Methods: A total of 136 Latino youth with obesity (BMI% 98.2 ± 1.3) aged 14 to 16 years old were randomized to either a 12-week lifestyle intervention (27 males/40 females) or control (35 males/34 females) group. The intervention included nutrition education (1 h/wk) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (3 h/wk). Anthropometric data (body mass index [BMI], BMI%, waist circumference, total body fat, and fat-free mass) were obtained pre- and post-intervention. Sex differences were examined by general linear models with significance determined at P <.05 for the F-statistic. Results: Sex did not moderate changes in BMI (F1,115 = 0.01, P =.9), BMI% (F1,115 = 0.14, P =.7), or waist circumference (F1,117 = 1.1, P =.3). Sex significantly moderated changes in body fat percent (F1,117 = 5.3, P =.02), fat mass (F1,116 = 4.5, P =.04), and fat-free mass (F1,116 = 4.3, P =.04). Intervention males compared with females had greater relative reductions in fat percent (−4.1 ± 0.8% vs −1.2 ± 0.7%, P =.02) and fat mass (−5.0 ± 1.1 kg vs −1.5 ± 0.9 kg, P =.02) and gained more fat free mass (3.6 ± 0.9 kg vs 0.5 ± 0.8 kg, P =.02) when compared with same sex controls. Conclusion: Males and females exhibited a differential response to lifestyle intervention for percent fat, fat mass, and fat-free mass indicating that sex-specific improvements in body composition favours males over females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12620
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • adolescents
  • body fat percent
  • fat mass
  • lean mass
  • sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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