Scientific publications

Association between favourable changes in objectively measured physical activity and telomere length after a lifestyle intervention in pediatric patients with abdominal obesity

Sep 1, 2020 | Magazine: Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism

Ana Ojeda-Rodríguez 1  2 , Lydia Morell-Azanza 1  3 , Nerea Martín-Calvo 4  5  6 , Guillermo Zalba 7  8 , María Chueca 4  9 , Maria Cristina Azcona-Sanjulian 4  10 , A Marti 1  4  11


The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of physical activity (PA) changes, measured by accelerometry, on telomere length (TL) in pediatric patients with abdominal obesity after a lifestyle intervention. 121 children with abdominal obesity (7-16 years old) were randomized to the intervention (moderately hypocaloric Mediterranean Diet) or usual care group (standard pediatrics recommendations) for 22 months (a 2-month intensive phase and a subsequent 20-month follow-up).

Both groups were encouraged to accumulate extra 200 min/week of PA. TL was measured by MMqPCR. Data were analyzed in 102 subjects after 2-month and 64 subjects at the first 10 months of follow-up. Light PA level decreased in both groups after 12-month of intervention. At month 2, moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) incremented in the intervention group (+5.4 min/day, p=0.035) and so did sedentary time in the usual care group (+49.7 min/day, p=0.010). TL changes were positively associated (p<0.050) with metabolic equivalents (METs), MVPA level and number of steps; and inversely associated with sedentary and light PA levels in the intervention group after the intensive phase. In conclusion, favourable changes in PA levels in the intensive phase of a lifestyle intervention could contribute to TL maintenance in pediatric population with abdominal obesity.


• Changes in physical activity levels had a direct effect on telomere length, a biomarker of cellular aging and oxidative stress.

• PA advice based on The American College of Sports Medicine included in this intervention is easy to implement in primary care.

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab . 2020 Sep 1. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2020-0297