The role of cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status on 24-hr ambulatory blood pressure among adolescents

Devin C Volding, The University of Texas School of Public Health


BACKGROUND: This observational research study investigated the association of cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status with repeated measures of 24-hr ambulatory blood pressure (24-hr ABP). Little is known about these associations and few data exist examining the interaction between cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status and the contributions of each on 24-hr ABP in youth. METHODS: This research study used secondary analysis data from the "Adolescent Blood Pressure and Anger: Ethnic Differences" study. This current study sample included 374 African-American, Anglo-American, and Mexican-American adolescents 11-16 years of age. Mixed-effects models were used for testing the relationship between weight status and cardiorespiratory fitness and repeated measures of ambulatory blood pressure over 24 hours (24-hr ABP). Weight status was categorized into "normal weight" (BMI<85th >percentile), "overweight" (85th≤BMI<95th), and "obese" (BMI≥95th). Cardiorespiratory fitness, determined by heart rate recovery (HRR), was defined as the difference between heart rate at peak exercise and heart rate at two minutes post-exercise, as measured by a height-adjusted step test and stratified into two groups: low and high fitness, using a median split. Ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) was monitored for a 24-hr period on a school day using the Spacelabs ambulatory monitor (Model 90207). Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded at 30 minute intervals throughout the day of recording and at 60 minute intervals during sleep. RESULTS: No significant associations were found between weight status and mean 24-hr systolic blood pressure (SBP) or mean arterial pressure (MAP). A significant and inverse association between weight status and mean 24-hr diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was revealed. Cardiorespiratory fitness was significantly and inversely associated with mean 24-hr ABP. High fitness adolescents had significantly lower mean 24-hr SPB, DBP, and MAP measurements than low fitness adolescents. Compared to low fitness adolescents, high fitness adolescents had 1.90 mmHg, 1.16 mmHg, and 1.68 mmHg lower mean 24-hr SBP, DBP, and MAP, respectively. Additionally, high fitness appeared to afford protection from higher mean 24-hr SBP and MAP, irrespective of weight status. Among normal weight adolescents, low fitness resulted in higher mean 24-hr SBP and MAP, compared to their fit counterparts. Among adolescents categorized as high fitness, increasing weight status did not appear to result in higher mean 24-hr SBP or MAP. Cardiorespiratory fitness, rather than weight status, appeared to be a more dominant predictor of mean 24-hr SBP and MAP. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this research is the first study to investigate the independent and combined contributions of cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status on 24-hr ABP, all objectively measured. The results of this study may potentially guide and inform future research. It appears that early cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention should focus on improving cardiorespiratory fitness levels among all adolescents, particularly those adolescents least fit, regardless of their weight status, while obesity prevention efforts continue.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Volding, Devin C, "The role of cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status on 24-hr ambulatory blood pressure among adolescents" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3518973.