European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 172, Issue 7, pp 913–918 | Cite as

Cardiorespiratory fitness predicts clustered cardiometabolic risk in 10–11.9-year-olds

  • Emma L. Houston
  • Julien S. Baker
  • Duncan S. Buchan
  • Gareth Stratton
  • Stuart J. Fairclough
  • Lawrence Foweather
  • Rebecca Gobbi
  • Lee E. F. Graves
  • Nicola Hopkins
  • Lynne M. BoddyEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this study was to investigate levels of clustered cardiometabolic risk and the odds of being ‘at risk’ according to cardiorespiratory fitness status in children. Data from 88 10–11.9-year-old children (mean age 11.05 ± 0.51 years), who participated in either the REACH Year 6 or the Benefits of Fitness Circuits for Primary School Populations studies were combined. Waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, adiponectin and C-reactive protein were assessed and used to estimate clustered cardiometabolic risk. Participants were classified as ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’ using recently published definitions (46.6 and 41.9 mL/kg/min for boys and girls, respectively), and continuous clustered risk scores between fitness groups were assessed. Participants were subsequently assigned to a ‘normal’ or ‘high’ clustered cardiometabolic risk group based on risk scores, and logistic regression analysis assessed the odds of belonging to the increased cardiometabolic risk group according to fitness. The unfit group exhibited significantly higher clustered cardiometabolic risk scores (p < 0.001) than the fit group. A clear association between fitness group and being at increased cardiometabolic risk (B = 2.509, p = 0.001) was also identified, and participants classed as being unfit were found to have odds of being classified as ‘at risk’ of 12.30 (95 % CI = 2.64–57.33).

Conclusion Assessing cardiorespiratory fitness is a valid method of identifying children most at risk of cardiometabolic pathologies. The ROC thresholds could be used to identify populations of children most at risk and may therefore be used to effectively target a cardiometabolic risk-reducing public health intervention.


Cardiorespiratory fitness Children Cardiometabolic disease Physical activity 



We would like to thank all the schools, parents, participants and research teams involved in the REACH Y6 and the Fitness Circuits for Primary School Populations studies. We would also like to thank Nicola Lyons (phlebotomist), Dr. Marcus Auth, Paul Newland and Dr. Jeff Jones from Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. The REACH Y6 study was funded by Liverpool John Moores University. The Benefits of Fitness Circuits for Primary School Populations was funded by the University of the West of Scotland.

Conflict of interest

The research team confirm that there are no conflicts of interest for the current study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma L. Houston
    • 1
  • Julien S. Baker
    • 2
  • Duncan S. Buchan
    • 2
  • Gareth Stratton
    • 3
    • 4
  • Stuart J. Fairclough
    • 5
  • Lawrence Foweather
    • 5
  • Rebecca Gobbi
    • 6
  • Lee E. F. Graves
    • 5
  • Nicola Hopkins
    • 5
  • Lynne M. Boddy
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Royal Liverpool University HospitalLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health ScienceUniversity of the West of ScotlandHamiltonUK
  3. 3.Applied Sports Technology, Exercise and Medicine Research Centre, College of EngineeringSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK
  4. 4.School of Sports Science, Exercise and HealthThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  5. 5.The Physical Activity Exchange, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise SciencesLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  6. 6.Department of Health SciencesLiverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK

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