Vigorous physical activity and longitudinal associations with cardiometabolic risk factors in youth

V Carson, R L Rinaldi, B Torrance, K Maximova, G D C Ball, S R Majumdar, R C Plotnikoff, P Veugelers, N G Boulé, P Wozny, L McCargar, S Downs, C Daymont, R Lewanczuk, J McGavock
International Journal of Obesity 2014, 38 (1): 16-21

OBJECTIVE: To examine the longitudinal associations between different physical activity (PA) intensities and cardiometabolic risk factors among a sample of Canadian youth.

METHODS: The findings are based on a 2-year prospective cohort study in a convenience sample of 315 youth aged 9-15 years at baseline from rural and urban schools in Alberta, Canada. Different intensities (light, moderate and vigorous) of PA were objectively assessed with Actical accelerometers. The main outcome measures were body mass index (BMI) z-score, waist circumference, cardiorespiratory fitness and systolic blood pressure at 2-year-follow-up and conditional BMI z-score velocity. A series of linear regression models were conducted to investigate the associations after adjusting for potential confounders.

RESULTS: At follow-up, cardiorespiratory fitness increased (quartile 1 vs quartile 4=43.3 vs 50.2; P(trend)<0.01) and waist circumference decreased (quartile 1 vs quartile 4=79.0 vs 72.6; P(trend)=0.04; boys only) in a dose-response manner across quartiles of baseline vigorous-intensity PA. A similar trend was observed for systolic blood pressure (quartile 1 vs quartile 4=121.8 vs 115.3; P(trend)=0.07; boys only). Compared with quartile 1 of vigorous-intensity PA, BMI z-score at follow-up and conditional BMI z-score velocity were significantly lower in the quartile 2 and 3 (P<0.05). Waist circumference at follow-up also decreased (quartile 1 vs quartile 4=75.3 vs 73.8; P(trend)=0.04) across quartiles of baseline moderate-intensity PA.

CONCLUSIONS: Time spent in vigorous-intensity PA was associated with several positive health outcomes 2 years later. These findings suggest that high-intensity activities in youth help to reduce the risk for several chronic diseases.

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