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Fitness Tied to Lower Mortality Despite Adiposity Category

Overweight women with high fitness have similar death risk as fit women of normal weight

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women with high cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) have lower all-cause mortality than less fit women in all categories of adiposity, according to a study in the November issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Stephen W. Farrell, Ph.D., of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and colleagues followed a total of 11,335 women who had a baseline physical examination in 1970 to 2005, including clinical measurement of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, waist-to-hip ratio, and percent body fat, and who also had taken a CRF treadmill test. The subjects were stratified by CRF as low (lowest 20 percent), moderate (middle 40 percent), and high (highest 40 percent).

In a mean 12.3 years of follow-up, the women with moderate and high CRF had lower all-cause mortality than the women with low CRF (hazard ratios, 0.60 and 0.54, respectively). The death rates for overweight women were somewhat higher than women of normal weight and approached statistical significance for BMI, percent body fat, and waist-to-height ratio. However, women with higher CRF who also had higher body fat percentage, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio had similar death risk as fit, normal-weight women.

"Low CRF in women was a significant independent predictor of all-cause mortality. Higher CRF was associated with lower mortality within each category of each adiposity exposure. Using adiposity measures as predictors of all-cause mortality in women may be misleading unless CRF is also considered," the authors write.

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