Association of Habitual Physical Activity With Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Target Organ Damage in Adolescents and Young Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: We aimed to (1) compare a subjective and objective measure of habitual physical activity (PA), (2) determine the association of PA and cardiovascular risk factors, and (3) test the hypothesis that PA is an independent determinant of target organ damage in youth. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of youth with and without type 2 diabetes [mean age = 22 (3.9) y]. PA was measured with International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Actical accelerometer. Target organ damage was assessed with echocardiography and peripheral arterial testing. Subjects were stratified into tertiles of total PA, and differences were tested by analysis of variance and χ2 tests. General linear models tested for independent associations. Results: The correlation between International Physical Activity Questionnaire and accelerometry was weak (r = .23, P = .0003). Less active subjects had worse cardiovascular risk profiles and target organ damage, including stiffer arteries (P < .01). These outcome differences did not reach statistical significance when adjusted for covariates, such as lipid levels and glycemic control. Conclusion: Survey assessment of PA is complicated by inaccurate reporting. There is a strong association of habitual PA with cardiovascular risk factor clustering. PA may exert its beneficial effect on arterial stiffness in obese youth through improved glycemic control.

Wittekind, Khoury, McCoy, Kimball, and Urbina are with the Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH. Edwards is with the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Dolan is with the Division of Endocrinology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.

Wittekind (samuel.wittekind@cchmc.org) is corresponding author.
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