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19-03-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Increased fitness ‘cardioprotective’ in children, adolescents

Abstract

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MedWire News: Children and adolescents with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) have reduced clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors, show results of a study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics.

"These findings suggest that CRF may have an important cardioprotective role in children and adolescents and highlights the importance of promoting CRF in youth," say Daniel Bailey (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and team.

They explain that higher levels of CRF have previously been negatively associated with single cardiometabolic risk factors in youths. However, few studies have explored the association between CRF and clustered cardiometabolic risk.

To investigate, the researchers assessed CRF and physical activity levels in 100 children and adolescents (aged 10-14 years) using a maximal cycle ergometer test and accelerometry, respectively.

Cardiometabolic risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure, total/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio, triglycerides, and glucose levels were also determined for all participants. A continuous clustered cardiometabolic risk score was then computed by standardizing and summing the standardized scores of these variables.

When Bailey et al compared the differences in clustered cardiometabolic risk between fit and unfit participants, according to previously proposed health-related thresholds, they found that the fit group had a significantly lower mean clustered risk score than those in the unfit group (-0.74 vs 2.22, respectively).

"This is an important finding given the literature that has reported decreases in childhood CRF in recent years and that CRF during youth is related to cardiometabolic risk profile in adulthood," they say.

Interestingly, when the researchers explored the associations of time spent in physical activity and cardiometabolic risk, they found no significant differences between tertiles in relation to cardiometabolic risk for time spent sedentary, or in light, moderate-vigorous, or vigorous physical activity.

Despite this, the researchers conclude: "Interventions to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiometabolic illness should target increases in higher intensity physical activity engagement and improvements in CRF as standard."

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Nikki Withers

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