Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and metabolic syndrome in adolescents: a cross-sectional study

Antonio Stabelini Neto, Jeffer E Sasaki, Luis P G Mascarenhas, Margaret C S Boguszewski, Rodrigo Bozza, Anderson Z Ulbrich, Sergio G da Silva, Wagner de Campos
BMC Public Health 2011, 11: 674

BACKGROUND: In adults, there is a substantial body of evidence that physical inactivity or low cardiorespiratory fitness levels are strongly associated with the development of metabolic syndrome. Although this association has been studied extensively in adults, little is known regarding this association in adolescents. The aim of this study was to analyze the association between physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness levels with metabolic syndrome in Brazilian adolescents.

METHODS: A random sample of 223 girls (mean age, 14.4 ± 1.6 years) and 233 boys (mean age, 14.6 ± 1.6 years) was selected for the study. The level of physical activity was determined by the Bouchard three-day physical activity record. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated by the Leger 20-meter shuttle run test. The metabolic syndrome components assessed included waist circumference, blood pressure, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting plasma glucose levels. Independent Student t-tests were used to assess gender differences. The associations between physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness with the presence of metabolic syndrome were calculated using logistic regression models adjusted for age and gender.

RESULTS: A high prevalence of metabolic syndrome was observed in inactive adolescents (males, 11.4%; females, 7.2%) and adolescents with low cardiorespiratory fitness levels (males, 13.9%; females, 8.6%). A significant relationship existed between metabolic syndrome and low cardiorespiratory fitness (OR, 3.0 [1.13-7.94]).

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is high among adolescents who are inactive and those with low cardiorespiratory fitness. Prevention strategies for metabolic syndrome should concentrate on enhancing fitness levels early in life.

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