See the rest of the posts in this series here.
Today we’re looking at a cross-sectional study on 456 adolescents between the age of 10 and 18, conducted in Brazil. The purpose of this study was to measure and analyze the association between metabolic syndrome and physical activity in this population. You can see the study here:
Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and metabolic syndrome in adolescents: A cross-sectional study
Anyone with diabetes or on medication that altered blood pressure, glucose, or lipid metabolism was excluded. Each subject was evaluated for height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure, and blood tests were conducted to determine HDL, blood glucose and triglycerides. Results were used to evaluate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, using standard Metabolic Syndrome criteria (abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL, high blood glucose and high triglycerides).
Each subject also completed a Three-Day Physical Activity Record, and their cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated using the 20-meter shuttle run test. Then this information was used to determine the prevalence of MetS and its components with respect to different cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity categories.
The results? Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was inversely correlated with Metabolic Syndrome. Physical activity itself wasn’t correlated, which means that is exercise specifically, and the cardiorespiratory fitness it produces, that provides the protective effect.
In this study low cardiorespiratory fitness was shown to already be affecting metabolic health even in adolescence. I will be posting more studies in the upcoming weeks exploring this connection across the lifespan (no, it’s not just kids that are protected by exercise. The protective effect continues throughout life).