Background During childhood and adolescence, both physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour seem to influence cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF); however, the combined association of PA and sedentary behaviour remains to be understood. We analysed the combined association of objectively measured sedentary behaviour and moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) on CRF in Portuguese children and adolescents.
Methods The sample comprised 2506 Portuguese healthy children and adolescents aged 10 years, from a cross-sectional school-based study (2008). PA and sedentary behaviour were assessed with accelerometry. Participants were classified as meeting current PA guidelines for youth versus not meeting, and as low versus high sedentary (according to the median value of sedentary time/day by age and gender), and then grouped as follows: Low active—high sedentary; low active—low sedentary; high active—high sedentary; high active—low sedentary. CRF was assessed with the FITNESSGRAM shuttle-run test. Binary logistic regression models were constructed to verify the relationship between high CRF and the combined influence of MVPA/sedentary behaviour, adjusting for age, gender, body mass index and accelerometer wear time.
Results Participants classified as high active/low sedentary (OR=1.81; 95% CI 1.21 to 2.69), as well as those classified as low active/low sedentary (OR=1.27; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.61) were more likely to be fit, compared with those from the low-active/high-sedentary group.
Conclusion MVPA and sedentary behaviour may act independently in their relation with CRF, and that MVPA levels may not overcome the deleterious influence of high-sedentary time in maximising CRF.