Objective: It is unclear whether elevated spontaneous physical activity (SPA, very low-intensity physical activity) positively influences body composition long term. We determined whether SPA and caloric intake were differentially related to the growth curve trajectories of body weight, fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) between obesity resistant and Sprague-Dawley rats at specific age intervals. Design and Subjects: Body composition, SPA and caloric intake were measured in selectively-bred obesity-resistant and out-bred Sprague-Dawley rats from 1 to 18 months. Data from development throughout maturation were analyzed by longitudinal growth curve modeling to determine the rate and acceleration of body weight, FM- and FFM-gain. Results: Obesity-resistant rats had a lower rate of FM gain overall, a lower acceleration in body weight early in life, significantly greater SPA and lower cumulative caloric intake. Greater SPA in obesity-resistant rats was significantly associated with a lower rate of FM gain overall and lower acceleration in body weight early in life. Obesity resistant rats lost less FFM compared with Sprague-Dawley rats despite that obesity-resistant rats had a lower acceleration in FFM gain early in life. Obesity-resistant rats gained less FM and more FFM per gram body weight and were less energy efficient than Sprague-Dawley rats. Caloric intake was significantly and positively related to body weight, FM and FFM gain in both groups. Circadian patterns of caloric intake were group and age-dependent. Our data demonstrate that elevated and sustained SPA during development and over the lifespan are related to the reduced the rate of FM gain and may preserve FFM. Conclusion: These data support the idea that SPA level is a reproducible marker that reliably predicts propensity for obesity in rats, and that elevated levels of SPA maintained during the lifespan promote a lean phenotype.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institute of Health (NIDDK R01DK078985 to CMK) and the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Genomics.
- growth curve analysis
- locomotor activity
- mixed model