Objective: To examine the association between anthropometric measurements of total and central adiposity and blood pressure in school-aged children, and to study whether these associations are modified by the levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
Methods: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, weight, height, skinfold thickness and waist circumference were measured in 873 children aged 9-10 years participating in the Estonian and Swedish part of the European Youth Heart Study. Mean arterial pressure was calculated. Body mass index and skinfold thickness were used as markers of total adiposity, whereas waist circumference and waist-height ratio were used as markers of central adiposity. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated by a maximal ergometer bike test, and dichotomized into low and high levels.
Results: Markers of total and central adiposity were positively associated with blood pressure. The results from the regression models showed that the markers of total and central adiposity were significantly associated with systolic blood pressure in girls with low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. Similar results were observed when mean arterial pressure was the outcome variable. None of the markers of total and central adiposity were significantly associated with blood pressure in girls with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness or in boys with low or high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
Conclusions: The results show a positive influence of simple anthropometric measurements of total and central adiposity on blood pressure, and suggest that higher cardiorespiratory fitness may attenuate the association between body fat and blood pressure in school-aged children.