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Associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and the metabolic syndrome in British men

Ingle, Lee; Mellis, Michelle; Brodie, David; Sandercock, Gavin R.


David Brodie

Michelle Mellis

Gavin R. Sandercock

Gavin R Sandercock


Background: Age and body mass index (BMI) are positively associated with the development of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) can attenuate BMI-related increases in prevalence of MetS, but the nature of this association across dif-ferent age strata has not been fully investigated. Aim: To identify the association between CRF and MetS prevalence across age-strata (20– 69 years) and determine whether associations are independent of BMI. Methods: CRF was estimated from incremental treadmill exercise in British men attending preventative health screening. Participants were placed in four age strata (20-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-69 years) and classified as Fit or Unfit using age-related cut-offs. Pres-ence of MetS was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. Results: 9 666 asymptomatic men (48.7±8.4 years) were enrolled. The prevalence of MetS was 25.5% in all men, and ranged from 17.1% in 20-39 year olds to 30.6% in 60-69 year olds. Fit men’s likelihood of meeting the criteria for MetS was half (OR=0.51, 95%CI:0.46-0.57) that of unfit men. The likelihood of MetS was 32-53% lower across age strata in Fit, compared with Unfit men. Adjustment for BMI attenuated the association, though it remained significant in men aged 20-49 years. Conclusion: The cardio-metabolic benefits of CRF are independent of BMI particularly in men <50 years. Public health messages should emphasise the important role of CRF alongside weight management for enhancing cardio-metabolic health.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2017
Journal Heart
Print ISSN 1355-6037
Electronic ISSN 1468-201X
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 103
Issue 7
Pages 524-528
Keywords Epidemiology; Risk factors; Exercise; Exercise testing
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article: Ingle L, Mellis M, Brodie D, et al. Associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and the metabolic syndrome in British men. Heart 2017;103:524-528.