Objective: To describe population values in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as blood lipids, fasting insulin and glucose and blood pressure in this young age group, and calculate associations to fitness and fatness.
Methods: Participants were 369 boys (6.8 +/- 0.4 years) and 327 girls (6.7 +/- 0.4 years) from preschool classes in Copenhagen. Peak VO2, blood pressure (BP), fat content and anthropometry were determined. A fasting blood sample was analysed for insulin, glucose and blood lipids. Physical activity was measured using accelerometry.
Results: Mean BMI, BP and blood lipids were not different between sexes. Fat percentage assessed from skinfolds was higher (21.5% vs. 16.5%) in girls than in boys (P < 0.001). Peak VO2 and physical activity were higher in boys than in girls (8% and 9%, respectively). Peak VO2 associated to fatness independent of body weight (r = 0.41; P < 0.001). Among the CVD risk factors, fitness was associated to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (r = 0.14; P < 0.01) and physical activity (r = 0.12; P < 0.01). Fatness assessed by skinfold was associated to blood pressure (r = 0.19-0.28; P < 0.001), to fasting glucose (r = 0.11, P < 0.05) and insulin (r = 0.17; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Mean BP in 6-7-year-old Danish children has decreased since 1979 and BMI has increased modestly since 1986/1987. The lipid profile was similar compared with data from 1973 and 1978 in Danish children. Weak relationships were found between CVD risk factors, fitness and fatness.