Lower Fitness Test Scores and Childhood Obesity are Associated with Elevated Blood Pressure Values

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Conference Paper

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise


Children with low levels of fitness and age- and gender-adjusted body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) greater than 30 may be at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine resting blood pressure (BP) values, BMI, baseline muscular strength, endurance and flexibility levels for inner city children aged 5 to 10 years in Dayton, OH.

METHODS: Subjects were a convenience sample of 75 apparently healthy inner-city grade school students. Participation in the study was voluntary. University of Dayton students measured height, weight, and BP and recorded scores for shuttle run, push-ups, sit-ups, and sit-and-reach exercises according to the President's Fitness Challenge. Data were grouped according to subject adjusted BMI (1 normal weight; 2 overweight; 3 obese) and descriptive statistics, correlations, and independent T tests completed for all variables. BP and fitness scores were compared to age- and gender-adjusted norms.

RESULTS: Average systolic and diastolic BP values were significantly higher than normative values for all children (p 0.015 and 0.0001, respectively) especially for children with obesity. Average fitness, flexibility, and muscular endurance test scores were significantly lower than national standards especially for children with obesity.

CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that obesity and low levels of fitness are associated with higher blood pressure values in children. It is especially alarming that these relationships are evident in children ages 5 to 10 years. Increased physical activity opportunities need to be made available for grade school children.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.


American College of Sports Medicine





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