Contributions of cardiorespiratory fitness and visceral adiposity to six-year changes in cardiometabolic risk markers in apparently healthy men and women

Caroline Rhéaume, Benoit J Arsenault, Marie-Pierre Dumas, Louis Pérusse, Angelo Tremblay, Claude Bouchard, Paul Poirier, Jean-Pierre Després
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2011, 96 (5): 1462-8

CONTEXT: Both excess visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) levels are associated with a deteriorated cardiometabolic risk profile.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to examine the respective contributions of changes in VAT accumulation vs. changes in CRF to 6-yr longitudinal changes in cardiometabolic risk markers.

DESIGN, SETTINGS, AND PARTICIPANTS: We conducted a prospective, population-based study with an average follow-up of 5.9 ± 0.8 yr. We followed 132 middle-aged participants from the Quebec Family Study (mean age, 35.3 ± 13.9 yr). VAT was measured by computed tomography, whereas the level of CRF was assessed by a submaximal physical working capacity test at baseline and at follow-up. A complete cardiometabolic risk profile, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose and insulin levels, C-reactive protein (n = 72), as well as a standard lipoprotein-lipid profile, was obtained at baseline and at follow-up.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We measured changes in CRF, VAT, and cardiometabolic risk profile over 6 yr.

RESULTS: After adjusting for age and sex, 6-yr changes in VAT were negatively correlated with changes in CRF (r = -0.38; P < 0.001). In a multivariate model that included age, sex, changes in VAT, changes in CRF, as well as baseline levels of the above cardiometabolic risk factors, 6-yr changes in VAT were the most important predictor of the change in the metabolic syndrome score (R(2) = 13.2%; P < 0.001). Adding 6-yr changes in CRF levels significantly improved the predictability of the model (R(2) = 19.7%; P = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Changes in both VAT and CRF levels observed over 6 yr are associated with changes in parameters of the lipoprotein-lipid profile, glucose-insulin homeostasis, and inflammatory markers. Thus, maintaining a low level of VAT and a high level of CRF are important targets for maintenance of cardiometabolic health.

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