Seven-year change in graded exercise treadmill test performance in young adults in the CARDIA study. Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Young Adults

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Mar;30(3):427-33. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199803000-00014.


Purpose: Most studies of physical fitness change have been relatively small, not population-based, and lacking in women and nonwhites. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate the 7-yr change in physical fitness in a biracial (black and white) population of young men and women.

Methods: We evaluated change in exercise treadmill test performance in a biracial (black and white) population of 1,962 young adults, ages 18-30 yr at baseline, who completed symptom-limited graded exercise treadmill tests at the baseline (1985-1986) and year 7 (1992-1993) examinations of the CARDIA study.

Results: Mean test duration decreased 58 s (9.5%) over 7 yr (black men, 13.6% decrease, white men, 7.4%; black women, 11.1%; white women, 7.0%). Mean time to heart rate 130 (WL130), a measure of submaximal performance, decreased 31 s (11.3%) (black men, 16.9%; white men, 10.0%; black women, 12.3%; white women, 6.1%). Baseline body mass index (BMI) and physical activity were not statistically significant predictors of test duration change in any race-gender group, but change in BMI and activity were. Seven-year weight gain >20 lbs (31% of cohort) was associated with a large decrease in fitness (18.5% decrease in mean duration, 21.8% decrease in WL130).

Conclusion: These data suggest that fitness declines during young adulthood in blacks and whites and that fitness changes are related to changes in weight and physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blacks
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Exercise Test* / methods
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Weight Gain*
  • Whites