Fitness, fatness, and estimated coronary heart disease risk: the HERITAGE Family Study

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Apr;33(4):585-90. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200104000-00012.


Purpose: To determine the contributions of fatness and fitness to the estimated risk of future coronary heart disease (CHD).

Methods: The sample consisted of 212 black and 411 white adult sedentary participants. Percent body fat (%BF) was measured using densitometry, whereas maximal oxygen uptake (VO(2max)) was measured on a cycle ergometer. Risk of future CHD was estimated using the revised Framingham Heart Study algorithm.

Results: For fatness, the odds ratios for risk of future CHD were 1.83 and 1.70 for the moderate and high tertiles, respectively, compared with the low tertile. Similarly, the odds ratios for VO(2max) were 1.29 (NS) and 1.62, for the moderate and low tertiles, respectively. Removing VO(2max) from the full model had no effect; however, removing %BF resulted in a significantly weaker model (chi(2) = 10.38, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Both fatness and fitness are important predictors of risk of future CHD, based on the Framingham index.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors