Skip Navigation LinksHome > December 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 12 > The Impact of Race and Higher Socioeconomic Status on Cardio...
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31829c2f4f

The Impact of Race and Higher Socioeconomic Status on Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Howard, Erica N.1; Frierson, Georita M.2; Willis, Benjamin L.1; Haskell, William L.3; Powell-Wiley, Tiffany M.4; DeFina, Laura F.1

Collapse Box


Purpose: Previous studies suggest that African Americans (AA) have lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) than their Caucasian (C) counterparts. However, the association between CRF and race/ethnicity in the context of higher socioeconomic status (SES) has not been explored.

Methods: We evaluated 589 AA (309 men and 203 women) and 33,015 C (19,399 men and 8753 women) enrolled in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Education years and access to a preventive health care examination were used as a proxy for higher SES. Data were collected from a questionnaire, maximal treadmill exercise stress test, and other clinical measures. The outcome variable was CRF, which was stratified into low fit (quintile 1 of CRF) and fit (quintiles 2–5). Multivariable regression was used to compare adjusted mean CRF between groups. P values were adjusted for unbalanced sample size and unequal variance between groups.

Results: The mean education years were similar for AA and C men at 16 yr; however, AA women had more years of education than C (15.8 vs 15.2 yr, P = 0.0062). AA men and women had a significantly higher prevalence of being unfit compared with their C counterparts (men 26.7% vs 12.6%, P < 0.0001; women 21.3% vs 8.4%, P < 0.0001). The adjusted mean estimated maximal METs were 10.9 vs 11.7 and 8.8 vs 9.8 for AA and C men and women, respectively. Fully adjusted odds ratios revealed that AA men had more than twice the risk of being unfit compared with C men. A trend persisted for AA women to have a lower MET value than their counterparts.

Conclusions: Despite comparable higher SES, lower CRF existed among AA men versus C men. These results suggest that CRF may not be mediated strictly by environmental factors related to SES.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.

Connect With Us