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Fatness and Fitness Affect Cardiovascular Risk in Kids

Both should be considered in assessing risk

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Fitness and fatness are important factors in assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease in children and adolescents, researchers report in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Joey C. Eisenmann, Ph.D., from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and colleagues classified 860 Australian boys and 755 Australian girls (all 9 to 15 years old) into four groups based on percent body fat and estimated maximal oxygen consumption.

Among the boys' groups, the researchers found significant differences in blood pressure, triglycerides, and low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Among the girls' groups, there were significant differences in blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Blood pressure tended to be lower in the low-fat groups in both boys and girls, while lipids tended to be lower in the low-fat groups in boys. The risk score for cardiovascular disease was linear across the groups for both boys and girls.

"In summary, this study provides evidence for the importance of considering both fitness and fatness in relation to cardiovascular disease risk factors in young people," Eisenmann and colleagues conclude. "As expected, youth with combined high fatness and low fitness have the poorest metabolic profile, but the key finding is that cardiovascular disease risk score is attenuated by aerobic fitness in the high-fat group."

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