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We examined the association of cardiorespiratory fitness and fatness with health complaints and health risk behaviors in 691 (323 girls) Spanish children aged 6 to 17.9.
Health complaints and health risk behaviors were self-reported using items of the Health Behavior in School-aged Children questionnaire. Weight and height were measured and body mass index was computed. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured by the 20-m shuttle-run test, and youth categorized as fit/unfit.
Unfit youth were more likely to report health complaints sometime (OR: 2.556, 95% CI: 1.299–5.031; and OR: 1.997, 95% CI: 1.162–3.433, respectively) and health risk behaviors such as drinking alcohol sometime (OR: 5.142, 95% CI: 1.214–21.783; and OR: 2.413, 95% CI: 1.484–3.923) than their fit counterparts. Overweight-obese youth were more likely to report health complaints (OR: 1.732, 95% CI: 1.019–2.945; and OR: 1.983, 95% CI: 1.083–3.629, respectively). The analysis of the combined influence of fitness and fatness revealed that fit youth had lower health complaints index than the fat-unfit and unfat-unfit groups (all P < .05).
Low fitness and overweight-obesity increased the risk of having health complaints in youth, yet high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness might overcome deleterious effects of overweight-obesity on health complaints.
Castro-Piñero and Padilla-Moledo are with the Dept of Physical Education, University of Cadiz, Puerto Real, Spain. Castro-Piñero is also with the Dept of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden. Ortega and Ruiz are with the Dept of Biosciences and Nutrition at NOVUM, Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden. Ortega and Ruiz are also with the Dept of Physical Education, School of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada (Spain). Moliner-Urdiales is with the Dept of Education, University Jaume I, Castellón, Spain. Keating is with the Dept of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas, Austin, TX.