Relationship between abdominal adiposity, cardiovascular fitness, and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in British adolescents

Moira S. Lewitt*, Julien S. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Puberty is a critical time in the development of overweight and obesity. The aim of this study was to examine relationships between measures of adiposity, cardiovascular fitness, and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in adolescents. Methods: In a cross-sectional study design, 129 girls and 95 boys aged 12.9–14.4 years at various stages of puberty were included, along with their mothers (n = 217) and fathers (n = 207). Anthropometric assessments of adiposity were made, along with cardiovascular physical fitness, using the 20-m shuttle run test, and biomarkers associated with cardiovascular risk, including glucose, insulin, triglyceride, fibrinogen, and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations. Results: Waist-to-height ratio values were similar in boys and girls and correlated positively with diastolic blood pressure, insulin, triglyceride, fibrinogen, and CRP concentrations, and inversely with cardiovascular fitness scores. Skinfold thickness measurements were higher in girls. High-molecular-weight adiponectin concentrations were lower in boys than girls, particularly in late puberty, and CRP levels were higher. Cardiovascular fitness, maternal body mass index (BMI), and paternal BMI contributed independently to the variance in waist measurements in girls and boys. Gender, triceps skinfold thickness, and weight-to-height ratio, but not parental BMI, contributed independently to the variance in cardiovascular fitness. Conclusion: There is a relationship between measures of adolescent adiposity and parental weight that involves factors other than cardiovascular fitness. Adolescent boys have relatively more abdominal fat than girls and a tendency to have a proinflammatory profile of biomarkers. These observations suggest that family and social environmental interventions are best undertaken earlier in childhood, particularly among boys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-644
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adiposity
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Inflammation
  • Puberty


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