, Volume 171, Issue 4, pp 705-710
Date: 13 Dec 2011

Aerobic fitness related to cardiovascular risk factors in young children

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Low aerobic fitness (maximum oxygen uptake (VO2PEAK)) is predictive for poor health in adults. In a cross-sectional study, we assessed if VO2PEAK is related to a composite risk factor score for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 243 children (136 boys and 107 girls) aged 8 to 11 years. VO2PEAK was assessed by indirect calorimetry during a maximal exercise test and scaled by body mass (milliliters per minute per kilogram). Total body fat mass (TBF) and abdominal fat mass (AFM) were measured by Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Total body fat was expressed as a percentage of total body mass (BF%) and body fat distribution as AFM/TBF. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SDP and DBP) and resting heart rate (RHR) were measured. The mean artery pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure (PP) were calculated. Echocardiography, 2D-guided M-mode, was performed. Left atrial diameter (LA) was measured and left ventricular mass (LVM) and relative wall thickness (RWT) were calculated. Z scores (value for the individual − mean value for group)/SD were calculated by sex. The sum of z scores for DBP, SDP, PP, MAP, RHR, LVM, LA, RWT, BF%, AFM and AFM/TBF were calculated in boys and girls, separately, and used as composite risk factor score for CVD. Pearson correlation revealed significant associations between VO2PEAK and composite risk factor score in both boys (r = −0.48 P < 0.05) and in girls (r = −0.42, P < 0.05). One-way ANOVA analysis indicated significant differences in composite risk factor score between the different quartiles of VO2PEAK (P < 0.001); thus, higher VO2PEAK was associated with lower composite risk factor score for CVD. In conclusion, low VO2PEAK is associated with an elevated composite risk factor score for CVD in both young boys and girls.