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Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Metabolic Risk, and Inflammation in Children

DOI: 10.1155/2012/270515

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The aim of this study was to investigate the independent associations among cardiorespiratory fitness, metabolic syndrome (MetS), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in children. The sample consisted of 112 children (11.4??±??0.4 years). Data was obtained for children’s anthropometry, cardiorespiratory fitness, MetS components, and CRP levels. MetS was defined using criteria analogous to the Adult Treatment Panel III definition. A MetS risk score was also computed. Prevalence of the MetS was 5.4%, without gender differences. Subjects with low fitness showed significantly higher MetS risk ( ) and CRP ( ), compared to the high-fitness pupils. However, differences in MetS risk, and CRP between fitness groups decreased when adjusted for waist circumference. These data indicate that the mechanisms linking cardiorespiratory fitness, MetS risk and inflammation in children are extensively affected by obesity. Intervention strategies aiming at reducing obesity and improving cardiorespiratory fitness in childhood might contribute to the prevention of the MetS in adulthood. 1. Introduction The prevalence and severity of obesity is increasing dramatically among children and adolescents in many parts of the world, whereas prevalence rates are estimated to increase in the next decades [1]. In children, excess body fat appears to be strongly associated with the clustering of risk factors, such as hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, which play a key role in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) [2]. Obesity and the MetS risk in children have been recently associated with systemic inflammatory markers, in particular C-reactive protein (CRP) [3, 4], implying that low-grade inflammation can already exist in childhood and may be a potential link between the obesity and the MetS. Among behavioral variables, cardiorespiratory fitness has a protective role in MetS and inflammatory factors; however, it is not entirely clear if the interrelations among cardiorespiratory fitness, MetS risk, and inflammation in children are independent or partly due to the mediating effect of obesity, since the existing data are limited and equivocal [5, 6]. Recent evidence indicates that the prevalence rates of childhood obesity in Greece remain high [1, 7] and often coexist with low cardiorespiratory fitness [8] and an unfavorable cardiometabolic risk profile [9]. For the Greek pediatric population these data suggest an increased cardiovascular morbidity in adulthood, given that high-risk children and adolescents are likely to become high-risk adults [10]. Although the


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