Research Study Abstract

Accelerometer-Derived Total Activity Counts, Bouted Minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Activity, and Insulin Resistance: NHANES 2003–2006

  • Published on Oct 20, 2016

Introduction: The objective of this study was to compare the associations of accelerometer-derived total activity counts per day and minutes of bouted moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) with insulin resistance.

Methods: The sample included 2,394 adults (aged ≥20 y) from the 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Time spent in MVPA, measured by using 2 cutpoints (≥2,020 counts/min [MVPA2,020] and ≥760 counts/min [MVPA760]), was calculated for bouts of at least 8 to 10 minutes. Total activity counts per day reflects the total amount of activity across all intensities. Insulin resistance was measured via the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). Two nested regression models regressed HOMA-IR and QUICKI, respectively, on minutes of bouted MVPA and total activity counts per day. We used an adjusted Wald F statistic to illustrate strength of association.

Results: After adjustment for covariates, total activity counts per day was more strongly associated with both HOMA-IR (adjusted Wald F = 36.83 , P < .001) and QUICKI (adjusted Wald F = 29.44, P < .001) compared with MVPA2,020 (HOMA-IR, adjusted Wald F = 4.00, P = .06; QUICKI, adjusted Wald F = 1.08, P = .31).Total activity counts per day was more strongly associated with both HOMA-IR (adjusted Wald F = 13.64, P < .001) and QUICKI (adjusted Wald F = 12.10, P < .001) compared with MVPA760 (HOMA-IR, adjusted Wald F = 1.13, P = .30; QUICKI, adjusted Wald F = 0.97, P = .33).

Conclusion: Our study indicated that total activity counts per day has stronger associations with insulin resistance compared with minutes of bouted MVPA. The most likely explanation is that total activity counts per day captures data on light physical activity and intermittent MVPA, both of which influence insulin resistance.


  • William R. Boyer, MSH 1
  • Dana L. Wolff-Hughes, PhD 2
  • David R. Bassett, PhD 3
  • James R. Churilla, PhD 4
  • Eugene C. Fitzhugh, PhD 3


  • 1

    Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, University of Tennessee.

  • 2

    Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

  • 3

    Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

  • 4

    Department of Clinical and Applied Movement Sciences, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention