Health-related fitness in adolescents: underweight, and not only overweight, as an influencing factor. The AVENA study

E G Artero, V España-Romero, F B Ortega, D Jiménez-Pavón, J R Ruiz, G Vicente-Rodríguez, M Bueno, A Marcos, S Gómez-Martínez, A Urzanqui, M González-Gross, L A Moreno, A Gutiérrez, M J Castillo
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2010, 20 (3): 418-27
This study investigated differences in health-related fitness (20-m shuttle run, handgrip, bent arm hang, standing long jump, shuttle run 4 x 10 m and sit and reach tests) in 2474 Spanish adolescents (1196 boys and 1278 girls; age 13-18.5 years) classed as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese according to body mass index. Body fat and fat-free mass were derived from skinfold thickness. The prevalence of underweight was higher than obesity in girls (4.8% vs 3.0%, respectively; P<0.05) and the opposite in boys (3.9% vs 5.8%, respectively; P<0.05). Underweight was associated with a higher performance in the bent arm hang test in girls (P<0.05) and a lower performance in handgrip in both genders (P<0.01) compared with normal weight. Overweight and obese adolescents presented a lower performance in 20-m shuttle run, bent arm hang, standing long jump and shuttle run 4 x 10 m tests (P<0.001), but a higher performance in handgrip strength (P<0.001) compared with normal weight. In weight-bearing tests, the association became non-significant after adjusting for fat mass. In conclusion, not only overweight and obesity but also underweight seem to be determinants of health-related fitness in adolescents. The associations could be related to differences in body composition.

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