Associations of cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity, and adiposity with arterial stiffness in children

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Aug;26(8):943-50. doi: 10.1111/sms.12523. Epub 2015 Jul 29.


Associations of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior, and body fat percentage (BF%) with arterial stiffness and dilation capacity were investigated in 160 prepubertal children (83 girls) 6-8 years of age. We assessed CRF (watts/lean mass) by maximal cycle ergometer exercise test, total PA, structured exercise, unstructured PA, commuting to and from school, recess PA and total and screen-based sedentary behavior by questionnaire, BF% using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and arterial stiffness and dilation capacity using pulse contour analysis. Data were adjusted for sex and age. Poorer CRF (standardized regression coefficient β = -0.297, P < 0.001), lower unstructured PA (β = -0.162, P = 0.042), and higher BF% (β = 0.176, P = 0.044) were related to higher arterial stiffness. When CRF, unstructured PA, and BF% were in the same model, only CRF was associated with arterial stiffness (β = -0.246, P = 0.006). Poorer CRF was also related to lower arterial dilation capacity (β = 0.316, P < 0.001). Children with low CRF (< median) and high BF% (≥ median; P = 0.002), low CRF and low unstructured PA (< median; P = 0.006) or children with low unstructured PA and high BF% (P = 0.005) had higher arterial stiffness than children in the opposite halves of these variables. Poor CRF was independently associated with increased arterial stiffness and impaired arterial dilation capacity among children.

Keywords: Endothelial function; adiposity; arterial stiffness; atherosclerosis; exercise; physical fitness.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Vascular Stiffness*
  • Vasodilation