Purpose: A sedentary lifestyle and visceral obesity are important risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and the development of cardiovascular disease, two conditions that are prevalent in women after menopause. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between daily energy expenditure from moderate to intense physical activity and several metabolic parameters in postmenopausal women not receiving hormone therapy (HT) and to verify whether these associations are independent of the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (AT).
Methods: Daily energy expenditure and frequency of participation in physical activity (kcal·kg−1·15 min−1) were measured from a 3-d activity diary in 118 postmenopausal women (56 ± 4 yr; 29 ± 6 kg·m−2). Daily activities for each 15-min period during 24 h were categorized according to their intensity on a 1–9 scale. Category 1 indicated very low energy expenditure such as sleeping, and category 9 indicated very high energy expenditure such as running. Energy expenditure corresponding to categories 6–9 (EE6–9) was examined in relation to the metabolic risk profile.
Results: EE6–9 was negatively and significantly associated with body mass index (BMI) (r = −0.22, P < 0.05) and visceral AT accumulation (r = −0.18, P < 0.05). Partial correlation analyses adjusted for visceral AT showed that EE6–9 was significantly associated with systolic blood pressure (r = −0.22, P < 0.05), plasma concentrations of HDL-cholesterol (chol) (r = 0.23, P < 0.05), HDL2-chol (r = 0.22, P < 0.05), fasting glucose (r = −0.24, P < 0.05), and fasting C-peptide (r = −0.24, P = <0.05). EE6–9 was also associated with insulin sensitivity as measured by the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (r = 0.27, P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Higher engagement in physical activity (EE6–9) is associated with a lower BMI and visceral AT accumulation and with a healthier metabolic profile in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, the associations between EE6–9 and some metabolic parameters appear to be independent of visceral AT accumulation.