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Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Fatness, and Blood Pressure Associations in Nigerian Youth


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 10 - p 1978–1985
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31825ae19d
Applied Sciences

Purpose This study aimed to examine the independent associations of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and body fatness with resting blood pressure (BP) in children (9–11 yr) and adolescents (12–15 yr) in Benue State of Nigeria.

Methods A total of 3243 children (n = 1017) and adolescents (n = 2226) were evaluated for aerobic fitness, body fatness, resting preexercise BP and recovery BP at minutes 1, 5, and 10 after a progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance run test. Regression models, controlling for age and recovery BP at 1, 5, and 10 min after the progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance run, determined the associations of independent variables with the dependent variables.

Results Fatness and fitness were independent predictors of resting BP among participants, and the relationship of fatness with BP was more robust in adolescents than in children. In all cases, the relationships were stronger in boys than in girls. Combined fitness and fatness in predicting BP was modest (R 2 = 1%–3%) after controlling for age and postexercise BP. Postexercise BP was a major determinant of resting BP in both groups (R 2 = 23%–93%). In adolescents, fatter boys had 1.9 times likelihood of systolic HTN compared with leaner peers. Systolic and diastolic BP scores varied by fit–fat groups, the fit–low-fat group demonstrated the most favorable BP profiles, whereas the unfit–high-fat group showed the most adverse profiles.

Conclusions Irrespective of fatness, participants with higher CRF had more favorable BP profiles compared with their fat–unfit peers.

1Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, Benue State University, Makurdi, NIGERIA; and 2Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Devon, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Craig A. Williams, Ph.D., Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2011.

Accepted for publication April 2012.

©2012The American College of Sports Medicine