European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 177, Issue 7, pp 1101–1109 | Cite as

Changes in muscular fitness and its association with blood pressure in adolescents

  • César Agostinis-Sobrinho
  • Jonatan R. Ruiz
  • Carla Moreira
  • Luís Lopes
  • Robinson Ramírez-Vélez
  • Antonio García-Hermoso
  • Jorge Mota
  • Rute Santos
Original Article


The aims of this study were to examine the longitudinal association between muscular fitness (MF) and blood pressure (BP) 2 years later, and to determine whether changes in MF over a 2-year period were associated with BP at follow-up, in adolescents. The sample comprised 734 youths (349 girls) aged from 12 to 18 years. MF was assessed with the standing long jump and handgrip tests. Socioeconomic status, pubertal stage, waist circumference, resting BP, and cardiorespiratory fitness were measured according to standard procedures. Regression analyses showed a significant inverse association between MF at baseline and systolic BP (β = − 0.072; p = 0.032) and rate pressure product (β = − 0.124; p < 0.001) at follow-up, after adjustments for age, sex, height, pubertal stage, and socioeconomic status. However, when analyses were further adjusted for waist circumference and cardiorespiratory fitness, these associations did not remain significant. Adolescents with persistently high and increasing MF exhibited the lowest levels of diastolic BP (F(3, 721) = 3.814, p = 0.018) and systolic BP (F(3, 721) = 3.908, p = 0.014) when compared to those with persistent low MF after adjustment for age, sex, height, socioeconomic status, cardiorespiratory fitness, and waist circumference.

Conclusion: This study suggests that persistent greater and increasing MF in youth are associated with lower levels of BP across the adolescence.

What is Known:

• Currently, there is a growing interest on the health benefits of muscular fitness.

• Cross-sectional studies have identified an association between muscular fitness and blood pressure in adolescents.

What is New:

• Changes in muscular fitness during adolescence were associated with systolic and diastolic BP over a 2-year period.

• Adolescents with persistently low muscular fitness exhibited the highest levels of diastolic and systolic BP.


Muscular strength Blood pressure Cardiometabolic health Adolescents 



Blood pressure


Cardiorespiratory fitness


Muscular fitness


Standard deviation



The authors gratefully acknowledged the participation of all adolescents and their parents, teachers, and schools of the LabMed Study. They also acknowledge the cooperation of volunteer’s subjects and the Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure (University of Porto) for the sponsoring of the LabMed Study.

Funding source

This study was supported by FCT grant BD88984/2012. The first author was given Doctoral scholarship from Brazilian government by CAPES (Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) (Proc: 9588-13-2). The Research Centre on Physical Activity Health and Leisure (CIAFEL) is supported by UID/DTP/00617/2013 (FCT). Rute Santos has a Discovery Early Career Research Award from the Australian Research Council (DE150101921).

Authors’ Contributions

Drs. César Agostinis-Sobrinho and Rute Santos designed and carried out the initial analyses, drafted the initial manuscript and participated in data collection; Dr. Jonatan Ruiz participated in the study design, interpretation of data and revised the manuscript; Drs. Jorge Mota, Carla Moreira, and Luis Lopes participated in the study design and data collection, reviewed and data interpretation; Drs. Robinson Ramirez-Vélez and Antonio Garcia-Hermozo participated in analyzed the data and reviewed the manuscript; All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, Faculty of SportUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of health SciencesKlaipeda UniversityKlaipedaLithuania
  3. 3.PROFITH “PROmoting FITness and Health through physical activity” Research Group, Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  4. 4.Center of Studies in Physical Activity Measurements, School of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of RosarioBogotáColombia
  5. 5.Physical Activity, Sport and Health Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of Santiago de Chile (USACH)Santiago de ChileChile
  6. 6.Early Start Research Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of EducationUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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