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

Moira Lewitt, Julien Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Background and Aim
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, physical fitness and cardiovascular disease risk in adolescents.

Subjects and methods
In a cross-sectional study design, 129 girls and 95 boys aged 12.9-14.4 y 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 physical fitness and biochemical markers associated with cardiovascular risk.

Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) values were similar in boys and girls, and correlated positively with glucose, insulin, triglyceride, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein concentrations, and inversely with physical fitness scores. Skinfold-thickness (SKF) measurements were higher in girls. Compared to girls, HMW-adiponectin concentrations were lower in boys, particularly in late puberty, and C-reactive protein levels were higher. Physical fitness, maternal BMI and paternal BMI contributed independently to the variance in waist measurements in girls and boys. Gender, triceps SKF and WHtR, and not parental BMI, contributed independently to the variance in physical fitness.

There is a relationship between measures of adolescent adiposity and parental weight that involves factors other than physical fitness. Adolescent boys have relatively more abdominal fat than girls and a tendency to a proinflammatory profile of biochemical markers. These observations suggest that family and social environmental interventions are best undertaken earlier in childhood, particularly in boys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-644
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
Issue number6
Early online date15 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • cardiovascular risk
  • inflammation
  • physical fitness


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