From the Journals

Children with poor cardiorespiratory fitness have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease



Kids with poor cardiorespiratory fitness are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to the analysis of an ongoing Finnish study of physical activity and dietary intervention in school children.

“Our results are in agreement with previous findings that cardiorespiratory fitness measured in exercise test laboratories or using field tests and scaled by body mass (BM) using the ratio standard method had a strong inverse association with cardiometabolic risk in children,” lead author Andrew O. Agbaje, MD, MPH, and his coauthors wrote in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

The coauthors assessed the cardiorespiratory fitness of 352 primary school children – 186 boys and 166 girls – from Kuopio, Finland, all of whom were already participating in the ongoing PANIC (Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children) Study. The children were asked to perform a maximal exercise test, upon which fitness was assessed by measuring peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak), noted Dr. Agbaje, a PhD student at the University of Eastern Finland’s Institute of Biomedicine in Kuopio, and his colleagues.

Body mass and lean mass were also measured by bioelectrical impedance and used to scale VO2 peak, while variables such as waist circumference, insulin, glucose, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were used to calculate a continuous cardiometabolic risk score. Upon analysis, VO2 peak less than 45.8 mL/kg BM-1 min-1 in boys and less than 44.1 mL/kg BM-1 min-1 in girls was associated with increased cardiometabolic risk.

The coauthors noted that cardiorespiratory fitness can be influenced by genetics and that adjustments for puberty had “no effect on the relationships between VO2 peak and cardiometabolic risk.” As such, they recommended that “longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the role of CRF in cardiometabolic health during growth and maturation.”

That said, despite advocating caution in regard to determining proper CRF thresholds, the coauthors suggested that CRF scaled by BM could be used to screen children and improve prevention efforts. “Cardiometabolic risk tracks from childhood into adulthood and the early identification of individuals at increased risk is essential in developing public health actions targeted at preventing cardiometabolic diseases,” they wrote.

The study was funded by grants from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland, Research Committee of the Kuopio University Hospital Catchment Area (State Research Funding), Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Foundation for Paediatric Research, Diabetes Research Foundation in Finland, Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Juho Vainio Foundation, Paavo Nurmi Foundation, and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation. Dr. Agbaje reported grant support from the Olvi Foundation and the Urho Känkanen Foundation.

SOURCE: Agbaje AO et al. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018 Sep 19. doi: 10.1111/sms.13307.

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