A Pilot Study of Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Adiposity, and Cardiometabolic Health in Youth With Overweight and Obesity

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OBJECTIVE: To conduct a preliminary assessment of the relationships between cardiorespiratory fitness, adiposity, and cardiometabolic health using gold standard measures in diverse youth ranging from overweight to severe obesity. METHODS: Twenty of 30 participants (mean [SD]; age 13.2 [1.8] y, 55% female, 45% African American) met the criteria for VO2peak during a graded cycle ergometer test to volitional fatigue. The body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (percentage of body fat, fat mass index, and fat-free mass) and magnetic resonance imaging (abdominal visceral and subcutaneous [SAT] adipose tissue). The VO2peak was expressed relative to fat-free mass. Fasting lipid levels, glycemic biomarkers, and vital signs were examined individually and used in a composite cardiometabolic risk score. Accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time were included as covariates. RESULTS: VO2peak was negatively associated with abdominal SAT (r = -.49, P < .05), but not visceral adipose tissue or markers of cardiometabolic health. The association between SAT and VO2peak was partly explained by habitual sedentary time. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated a significant negative association between cardiorespiratory fitness and SAT in a diverse group of high-risk youth. The inclusion of rigorous, laboratory-based measures and youth with severe obesity extends the previous work in pediatric populations.

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Pediatric exercise science

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