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Fitness, Fatness Related to White Blood Cell Concentration

Fitness is inversely related to white blood cell concentration, while fatness has a direct effect

MONDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Fitness and fatness have opposite associations with the total and fractionated white blood cell concentrations in a large, healthy, non-smoking male sample, according to an article published online Oct. 16 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Neil M. Johannsen, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and colleagues performed a cross-sectional study of 452 men participating in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study to examine the association between fitness, body mass index (BMI), and neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, basophil and eosinophil concentrations among healthy, non-smoking men. White cell fractions across several fitness and BMI categories were examined after adjusting for age and other covariates using linear regression.

Overall, fitness and all white blood cell subfractions were inversely related and, following adjustment for BMI, only total white blood cell, neutrophil and basophil concentrations remained significantly associated with fitness. BMI was directly correlated with total white blood cell, neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte and basophil concentrations with only monocytes losing significance after controlling for fitness, the researchers report.

"This manuscript significantly adds to the growing body of literature because we show that white blood cell subfraction concentrations vary independently by both fitness and fatness in a relatively healthy sample of men," the authors conclude. "These findings provide one more potential mechanism whereby higher levels of fitness and lower levels of fatness reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease."

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