High cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with incidence of overweight in adolescence: a longitudinal study

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Dec;24(6):982-9. doi: 10.1111/sms.12097. Epub 2013 Jul 5.


To assess the association of baseline cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) with incidence of overweight over a 4.6-year period in adolescence. In a cohort of 4878 adolescents, we assessed body mass index in years 2001-2003 and 2007. CRF was assessed at baseline as maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max , mL/kg/min) using the 20-m shuttle run test and was examined against incidence of overweight at follow-up. Estimated VO2max at baseline was higher in males than in females, P < 0.001, and was lower in overweight and obese than in non-overweight subjects. The incidence of overweight at follow-up among non-overweight participants at baseline was 15.5% [95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7% to 17.3%] in males and 5.6% (95% CI 4.9% to 7.0%) in females, P < 0.001. Adjusted odds ratio for incidence of overweight in participants in the fourth quartile of VO2max was 0.40 (95%CI 0.26 to 0.61) in males and 0.57 (95% CI 0.33 to 0.99) in females in comparison with participants in the first quartiles of VO2max . Incidence of overweight was three times more frequent in males than in females. Among non-overweight at baseline, high fitness levels were inversely associated with incidence of overweight at follow-up, suggesting that interventions aiming to increase CRF in early childhood might help reverse increasing trends in obesity.

Keywords: adolescence; cardiorespiratory fitness; obesity; overweight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cyprus / epidemiology
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / classification
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors