Journal of Physical Activity Research
ISSN (Print): 2576-1919 ISSN (Online): 2574-4437 Website: Editor-in-chief: Peter Hart
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2021, 6(2), 130-134
DOI: 10.12691/jpar-6-2-11
Open AccessArticle

Relationship between Meeting Physical Activity Guideline Parameters and Body Mass Index (BMI) in Adults

Peter D. Hart1,

1Health Promotion Research, Havre, MT 59501

Pub. Date: October 13, 2021

Cite this paper:
Peter D. Hart. Relationship between Meeting Physical Activity Guideline Parameters and Body Mass Index (BMI) in Adults. Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2021; 6(2):130-134. doi: 10.12691/jpar-6-2-11


Background: Physical activity (PA) and risk of obesity are inversely related in adult populations. However, the extent to which meeting different PA guidelines influence body mass index (BMI) is less known. The aim of this research was to examine how different PA guideline parameters affect BMI in adults. Methods: The Montana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, 2019) was used for this study. Four different PA guideline variables were used and included 1) 2-level aerobic PA (APA) (met APA or did not meet APA), 2) 2-level muscle strengthening activity (MSA) (met MSA or did not meet MSA), 3) 4-level PA (met both APA and MSA, met APA only, met MSA only, or met neither), and 4) 3-level APA categories (active, insufficiently active, or inactive). BMI was calculated from self-reported height and weight (kg/m2). Multiple linear regression was used to examine the effect of each PA guideline parameter on BMI while controlling for sociodemographic variables. Results: Findings showed that meeting the 2-level APA (slope (b) = -0.74 kg/m2, p < .0001) or the 2-level MSA (b = -0.75 kg/m2, p < .0001) guideline was associated with lower mean BMI. In the 4-level PA model, as compared to meeting neither guideline, meeting APA only (b = -0.58 kg/m2, p = .0119) or meeting both APA and MSA (b = -1.32 kg/m2, p < .0001) was associated with lower mean BMI. Meeting MSA only did not show significantly (p = .1748) different BMI from those meeting neither guideline. In the 3-level APA model, as compared to those categorized as inactive, those categorized as active (b = -0.91 kg/m2, p < .0001) had lower mean BMI. Those categorized as insufficiently active did not have significantly (p = .1748) different BMI from those categorized as inactive. Furthermore, the 4-level PA guidelines × sex interaction was significant (p = .030) and indicated lower mean BMI for females meeting either MSA only (b = -1.05 kg/m2, p = .0215), APA only (b = -1.14 kg/m2, p = .0014), or both APA and MSA (b = -1.84 kg/m2, p < .0001) guideline (p for trend < .0001). Whereas for males, only meeting both APA and MSA was associated with lower mean BMI (b = -0.77 kg/m2, p = .0077). Conclusion: This study found that meeting either APA or MSA guideline is associated with lower BMI in adults. However, sex-specific analyses indicate that this is true for females only and in dose-response fashion. Lower BMI in males is only associated with meeting both APA and MSA guidelines. Health promotion specialists concerned with obesity should understand the influence that each PA guideline has on relative body weight. Physical activity programming should promote both APA and MSA among adults in Montana.

body mass index (BMI) physical activity (PA) muscle strengthening activity (MSA) BRFSS Montana

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (n.d.). Overweight and Obesity. Healthy People 2030. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
[2]  Kwon S, Wang M, Hawkins M. Association between self-reported physical activity and obesity among White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans: 2007 and 2009 brfss. Ethnicity & Disease. 2013; 23(2): 129-35.
[3]  Dun Q, Duan Y, Fu M, Meng H, Xu W, Yu T, Debra D, Tu N, Li X, Ma L, Du Y. Built environment, physical activity, and obesity of adults in Pingshan District, Shenzhen City in Southern China. Annals of Human Biology. 2021 Jan 2; 48(1): 15-22.
[4]  Cárdenas Fuentes G, Bawaked RA, Martínez González MÁ, Corella D, Subirana Cachinero I, Salas-Salvadó J, Estruch R, Serra-Majem L, Ros E, Lapetra Peralta J, Fiol M. Association of physical activity with body mass index, waist circumference and incidence of obesity in older adults. European journal of public health. 2018 Oct 1; 28(5): 944-50.
[5]  Fátima M Madrona Marcos 1, Josefa M Panisello Royo, Julio A Carbayo Herencia, Josep Alins, Loreto Tárraga Marcos, Eudald Castell Panisello, Pedro J Tárraga López. Motivational intervention for obesity in Primary Care using a physical activity program. Nutricion Hospitalaria. 2020 Feb 14.
[6]  Beavers KM, Beavers DP, Nesbit BA, Ambrosius WT, Marsh AP, Nicklas BJ, Rejeski WJ. Effect of an 18-month physical activity and weight loss intervention on body composition in overweight and obese older adults. Obesity. 2014 Feb; 22(2): 325-31.
[7]  McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch VL. Exercise physiology: nutrition, energy, and human performance. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010.
[8]  Lee YY, Kamarudin KS, Muda WA. Associations between self-reported and objectively measured physical activity and overweight/obesity among adults in Kota Bharu and Penang, Malaysia. BMC public health. 2019 Dec; 19(1): 1-2.
[9]  Burns RJ, Fillo J, Deschênes SS, Schmitz N. Dyadic associations between physical activity and body mass index in couples in which one partner has diabetes: results from the Lifelines cohort study. Journal of behavioral medicine. 2020 Feb; 43(1): 143-9.
[10]  Al-Ajlan AR, Mehdi SR. Effects and a dose response relationship of physical activity to high density lipoprotein cholesterol and body mass index among Saudis. Saudi medical journal. 2005 Jul 1; 26(7): 1107-11.
[11]  Piercy KL, Troiano RP. Physical activity guidelines for Americans from the US department of health and human services: Cardiovascular benefits and recommendations. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2018 Nov; 11(11): e005263.
[12]  Tran L, Tran P, Tran L. A cross-sectional examination of sociodemographic factors associated with meeting physical activity recommendations in overweight and obese US adults. Obesity research & clinical practice. 2020 Jan 1; 14(1): 91-8.
[13]  Littman AJ, Jacobson IG, Boyko EJ, Smith TC. Changes in meeting physical activity guidelines after discharge from the military. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2015 May 1; 12(5): 666-74.
[14]  Aparicio-Ting FE, Friedenreich CM, Kopciuk KA, Plotnikoff RC, Bryant HE. Prevalence of meeting physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention in Alberta. Chronic diseases and injuries in Canada. 2012 Sep 1; 32(4).
[15]  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The BRFSS data user guide. August 15, 2013.
[16]  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Overview: BRFSS 2019. July 26, 2019.
[17]  SAS Institute Inc. 2015. SAS/STAT® 14.1 User’s Guide. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.
[18]  IBM Corp. Released 2020. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 27.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.
[19]  Zou D, Lloyd JE, Baumbusch JL. Using SPSS to analyze complex survey data: a primer. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods. 2020; 18(1): 16.
[20]  Siller AB, Tompkins L. The big four: Analyzing complex sample survey data using SAS, SPSS, STATA, and SUDAAN. Inproceedings of the thirty-first annual SAS® Users Group international conference 2006 Mar 27 (pp. 26-29).
[21]  2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018.
[22]  Kenney WL, Wilmore JH, Costill DL. Physiology of sport and exercise. Human kinetics; 2015 May 19.
[23]  Gravetter FJ, Wallnau LB. Statistics for the behavioral sciences. 10th Edition. Belmont. CA: Thomson Wadsworth. 2017.