Associations between muscle mass, physical activity and dietary behaviour in adolescents

G. Hao, Norman K. Pollock, Ryan A. Harris, B. Gutin, S. Su, X. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Investigations in older individuals suggest that adequate nutrition and physical activity are particularly important to skeletal muscle health; however, data in adolescents are scant and equivocal. The objective was to determine the associations among diet, physical activity and skeletal muscle mass in adolescents. Methods: We assessed diet with four to seven 24-h recalls and physical activity by accelerometry in 640 adolescents. Using total body measures of fat-free soft tissue mass and fat mass assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, the skeletal muscle mass index (SMMI) was derived by adjusting fat-free soft tissue mass for fat mass in addition to height. Results: Skeletal muscle mass index (SMMI) was negatively associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (standardized beta coefficient [β] = −0.10, P = 0.001) and saturated fats (β = −0.28, P < 0.001). SMMI was positively associated with physical activity (moderate + vigorous) (β = 0.20, P < 0.001). In further analysis, we observed a significant interaction between physical activity and sugar-sweetened beverage intake on SMMI (P = 0.002). Conclusion: Our study in adolescence suggests that physical activity and consumption of both sugar-sweetened beverages and saturated fats are associated with skeletal muscle mass. More importantly, our findings suggest that sugar-sweetened beverage intake may attenuate the beneficial effects of physical activity on skeletal muscle mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12471
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Adolescents
  • diet
  • physical activity
  • skeletal muscle mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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