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Although several studies have reported associations between moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), body fatness and visceral adipose tissue (VAT), the extent to which associations differ among Latinos and non-Latinos remains unclear. This study evaluated the associations between body composition and MVPA in Latino and non-Latino adults.An exploratory, cross-sectional analysis was conducted using baseline data collected from 298 overweight adults enrolled in a 12-month randomized controlled trial that tested the efficacy of text messaging to improve weight loss. MVPA, body fatness and VAT were assessed by waist-worn accelerometry, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and DXA-derived software (GE CoreScan GE, Madison, WI, USA), respectively. Participants with <5 days of accelerometry data or missing DXA data were excluded; 236 participants had complete data. Multivariable linear regression assessed associations between body composition and MVPA per day, defined as time in MVPA, bouts of MVPA (time per bout ≥ 10 min), non-bouts of MVPA (time per bout <10 min) and meeting the 150-min MVPA guideline. The modifying influence of ethnicity was modeled with a multiplicative interaction term.The interaction between ethnicity and MVPA in predicting percent body fat was significant (P = 0.01, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.58, 4.43)) such that a given increase in MVPA was associated with a greater decline in total body fat in non-Latinos compared with Latinos (adjusted for age, sex and accelerometer wear time). There was no interaction between ethnicity and MVPA in predicting VAT (g) (P = 0.78, 95% CI (-205.74, 273.17)) and body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.18, 95% CI (-0.49, 2.26)).An increase in MVPA was associated with a larger decrease in body fat, but neither BMI nor VAT, in non-Latinos compared with Latinos. This suggests that changes in VAT and BMI in response to MVPA may be less influenced by ethnicity than is total body fatness.