Risk factors of type 2 diabetes and CVD accumulate in children with poor aerobic fitness

November 7, 2018, University of Eastern Finland
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease accumulate in children who have poor aerobic fitness, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. The study also found that the traditional way of expressing aerobic fitness in proportion to total body mass overestimates the role of aerobic fitness in identifying children at an increased risk of these diseases.

The study was conducted as part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study at the University of Eastern Finland, and the findings were reported in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

The study determined threshold values of for girls and boys, making it possible to identify who are at an increased risk of and . Altogether 352 Finnish children, aged between 9 and 11, were included in the current analyses. Their aerobic fitness was determined by measuring peak oxygen uptake during a maximal exercise test. In addition, their body adiposity and skeletal muscle mass were measured by bioelectrical impedance. The researchers also calculated variables indicative of the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as waist circumference, blood levels of insulin, glucose, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides as well as blood pressure.

Aerobic fitness can be determined in many different ways in both children and adults. Often, aerobic fitness is determined by dividing the aerobic fitness measure obtained from an exercise test by total body mass that includes adipose tissue. This way, the calculated measure describes not only aerobic fitness but also body adiposity or fatness, which may lead to erroneous interpretations of the association of aerobic fitness with the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The newly published study now shows that children with poor aerobic fitness in proportion to their total body mass have a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease than their peers with better aerobic fitness. When aerobic fitness was proportioned to skeletal muscle mass, the association of aerobic fitness with the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease remained, but was considerably weaker than when proportioned to total body mass.

"Measures of aerobic fitness that are based on total body mass are better at predicting the of type 2 and cardiovascular disease than measures that are based on skeletal muscle mass; however, they exaggerate the role of aerobic fitness in children's health. We should be cautious when interpreting aerobic measures that are proportioned to total body mass in order to correctly identify children who truly need health and lifestyle intervention," said Dr. Agbaje of the University of Eastern Finland, the first author of the study.

Explore further: More exercise may not help all cancer patients to the same extent

More information: Andrew O. Agbaje et al, Peak oxygen uptake cut-points to identify children at increased cardiometabolic risk - The PANIC Study, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports (2018). DOI: 10.1111/sms.13307

Related Stories

More exercise may not help all cancer patients to the same extent

October 9, 2018
A new article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that some cancer patients appear to benefit more from exercise than others.

Researchers show better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life

October 19, 2018
Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic fitness.

Obesity more dangerous than lack of fitness, new study claims

December 20, 2015
A new study, published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, has dismissed the concept of 'fat but fit'. In contrast, the results from the new study suggest that the protective effects of high fitness against ...

Study finds childhood fitness reduces long-term cardiovascular risks of childhood obesity

May 24, 2016
A new study from a group of international researchers has identified a potentially effective tool to reduce the long-term health risks of childhood obesity-aerobic exercise.

Study finds boys' fitness has declined over past 20 years

May 23, 2018
Even healthy weight boys have become less fit over the past 20 years, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Vienna, Austria (23-26 May). The study, which tested the ...

Low fitness may indicate poor arterial health in adolescents

September 10, 2018
A recent Finnish study conducted at the University of Jyväskylä showed that adolescents with better aerobic fitness have more compliant arteries than their lower fit peers do. The study also suggests that a higher anaerobic ...

Recommended for you

Teen personality traits linked to risk of death from any cause 50 years later

November 20, 2018
Personality traits evident as early as the teenage years may be linked to a heightened or lessened risk of death around 50 years later, suggests observational research of 'baby boomers,' published online in the Journal of ...

One in four U.S. adults sits more than eight hours a day

November 20, 2018
(HealthDay)—Couch Potato Nation: Nearly half of Americans sit for far too many hours a day and don't get any exercise at all, a new study finds.

Emotional abuse may be linked with menopause misery

November 19, 2018
Smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle have long been linked to heightened symptoms of menopause. Now, a study headed by UC San Francisco has identified another factor that may add to menopause torment: an emotionally ...

Bullying and violence at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

November 19, 2018
People who are bullied at work or experience violence at work are at higher risk of heart and brain blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and stroke, according to the largest prospective study to investigate the ...

How AI could help veterinarians code their notes

November 19, 2018
A team led by scientists at the School of Medicine has developed an algorithm that can read the typed-out notes from veterinarians and predict specific diseases that the animal may have.

Does an 'echo chamber' of information impede flu vaccination for children?

November 19, 2018
Parents who decline to get their child vaccinated against the flu may be exposed to a limited range of information, a new national poll suggests.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.