Associations of Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Adiposity With Arterial Stiffness and Arterial Dilatation Capacity in Response to a Bout of Exercise in Children

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2019 May 1;31(2):238-247. doi: 10.1123/pes.2018-0145. Epub 2019 Jan 9.


Purpose: To investigate the associations of directly measured peak oxygen uptake ( V˙O2peak ) and body fat percentage (BF%) with arterial stiffness and arterial dilatation capacity in children. Methods: Findings are based on 329 children (177 boys and 152 girls) aged 8-11 years. V˙O2peak was assessed by a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test on a cycle ergometer and scaled by lean body mass (LM). BF% and LM were measured by bioelectrical impedance. Stiffness index (measure of arterial stiffness) and change in reflection index (ΔRI, measure of arterial dilatation capacity) were assessed by pulse contour analysis. Data were analyzed by linear regression models. Results:V˙O2peak/LM was positively associated with ΔRI in boys adjusted for age and BF% (β = 0.169, P = .03). Further adjustments for systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and the study group had no effect on this association, but additional adjustment for clinical puberty attenuated it (β = 0.171, P = .07). BF% was inversely related to ΔRI in boys adjusted for age and V˙O2peak/LM (β = -0.171, P = .03). V˙O2peak or BF% was not associated with ΔRI in girls or with stiffness index in either boys or girls. Conclusion: Increasing cardiorespiratory fitness and decreasing adiposity may improve arterial health in childhood, especially among boys.

Keywords: aerobic fitness; body composition; endothelial function; maximal exercise test; pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Arteries / physiology*
  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*