The effect of cardiorespiratory fitness on age-related lipids and lipoproteins

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 May 19;65(19):2091-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.03.517.


Background: Evidence on the effect of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) on age-related longitudinal changes of lipids and lipoproteins is scarce.

Objectives: This study sought to assess the longitudinal aging trajectory of lipids and lipoproteins for the life course in adults and to determine whether CRF modifies the age-associated trajectory of lipids and lipoproteins.

Methods: Data came from 11,418 men, 20 to 90 years of age, without known high cholesterol, high triglycerides, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at baseline and during follow-up from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. There were 43,821 observations spanning 2 to 25 health examinations (mean 3.5 examinations) between 1970 and 2006. CRF was quantified by a maximal treadmill exercise test. Marginal models using generalized estimating equations were applied.

Results: Total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) presented similar inverted U-shaped quadratic trajectories with aging: gradual increases were noted until age mid-40s to early 50s, with subsequent declines (all p < 0.0001). Compared with men with higher CRF, those with lower CRF developed abnormal values earlier in life: TC (≥200 mg/dl), LDL-C (≥130 mg/dl), non-HDL-C (≥160 mg/dl), and triglycerides/HDL-C ratio (≥3.0). Notably, abnormal values for TC and LDL-C in men with low CRF were observed around 15 years earlier than in those with high CRF. After adjusting for time-varying covariates, a significant interaction was found between age and CRF in each trajectory, indicating that CRF was more strongly associated with the aging trajectories of lipids and lipoproteins in young to middle-age men than in older men.

Conclusions: Our investigation reveals a differential trajectory of lipids and lipoproteins with aging according to CRF in healthy men and suggests that promoting increased CRF levels may help delay the development of dyslipidemia.

Keywords: aging; lipid profile trajectories; longitudinal study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins