Associations between Health-Related Fitness and Cardio-Metabolic Blood Profiles in Low-Income Children


Children from low-income families have a higher incidence for developing early onset cardio-metabolic disease risk factors. Optimal levels of health-related fitness may attenuate risk, but little research has examined its relationships with individual cardio-metabolic blood markers in low-income children. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of unfavorable cardio-metabolic blood profiles in children from low-income families. Data were collected and analyzed on 124 children (mean age = 10.4 ± 0.9 years; 57 girls, 67 boys; 97% Hispanic) recruited from three urban Title I schools from the state of Utah in the US Health-related fitness. Measures were collected using the validated FITNESSGRAM fitness test battery. The Cholestech LDX system was used to analyze students’ total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides (TRI), and blood glucose (BG). Capillary blood samples via finger sticks were collected while each student was in a fasted state before school hours. Unfavorable measurements were defined as TC ≥ 200 mg/dL, LDL ≥ 130 mg/dL, HDL < 40 mg/dL, TRI > 150 mg/dL, and BG ≥ 100 mg/dL (pre-diabetes). Approximately 5.3% of the total sample had unfavorable TC, 16.7% had unfavorable HDL, 16.0% had unfavorable LDL, 15.2% had unfavorable TRI, and 25.4% had unfavorable BG (pre-diabetes). Pearson’s chi-square tests revealed no significant differences between sexes on any unfavorable classification after alpha level adjustment (p > 0.01). When all parameters were analyzed as continuous variables, Spearman’s rank correlation revealed a statistically significant linear relationship between aerobic fitness and LDL in boys (rs = - 0.65, p < 0.01), between BMI and HDL in girls (rs = - 0.46, p < 0.01), and between BMI and BG in girls (rs = 0.56, p < 0.01). Aerobic fitness relates to LDL cholesterol in low-income boys and BMI relates to HDL cholesterol and BG in low-income girls.

Share and Cite:

Burns, R. , Brusseau, T. , Fu, Y. and Hannon, J. (2015) Associations between Health-Related Fitness and Cardio-Metabolic Blood Profiles in Low-Income Children. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 370-376. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.59041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ogden, C.L., Carroll, M.D., Kit, B.K. and Flegal, K.M. (2014) Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association, 311, 806-814.
[2] National Center for Health Statistics (2012) Health, United States, 2011: With Special Features on Socioeconomic Status and Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hyattsville.
[3] United Health Center for Health Reform and Modernization (2010) The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities for the Decade Ahead. Author, Minnetonka.
[4] Ogden, C.L., Lamb, M.M., Carroll, M.D. and Flegal, K.M. (2010) Obesity and Socioeconomic Status in Children: United States 1988-1994 and 2005-2008. NCHS Data Brief No. 51. National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville.
[5] Wang, Y. and Zhang, Q. (2006) Are American Children and Adolescents of Low Socioeconomic Status at Increased Risk of Obesity? Changes in the Association between Overweight and Family Income between 1971 and 2002. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84, 707-716.
[6] Jin, Y. and Jones-Smith, J.C. (2015) Associations between Family Income and Children’s Physical Fitness and Obesity in California, 2010-2012. Preventing Chronic Disease, 12, Article ID: 140392.
[7] Eisenmann, J.C., Welk, G.J., Ihmels, M. and Dollman, J. (2007) Fatness, Fitness, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Children and Adolescents. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39, 1251-1256.
[8] Jago, R., Drews, K.L., McMurray, R.G., et al. (2010) Fatness, Fitness and Cardio-Metabolic Risk Factors among Sixth-Grade Youth. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42, 1502-1510.
[9] Durant, R.H., Linder, C.W., Harkess, J.W. and Gray, R.G. (1983) The Relationship between Physical Activity and Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins in Black Children and Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health Care, 4, 55-60.
[10] Vaisto, J., Eloranta, A.M., Viitasalo, A., et al. (2014) Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Relation to Cardio-Metabolic Risk in Children: Cross-Sectional Findings from the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11, 55.
[11] McKenzie, T.L., Marshall, S.J., Sallis, J.F. and Conway, T.L. (2000) Leisure-Time Physical Activity in School Environments: An Observational Study Using SOPLAY. Preventive Medicine, 30, 70-77.
[12] Nadar, P.R., Bradley, R.H., Houts, R.M., McRitchie, S.L. and O’Brian, M. (2008) Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity from Ages 9 to 15 Years. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300, 295-305.
[13] Dumith, S.C., Gigante, D.P., Domingues, M.R. and Kohl, H.W. (2011) Physical Activity Change during Adolescence: A Systematic Review and a Pooled Analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40, 1-14.
[14] Armstrong, N., Tomkinson, G. and Ekelund, U. (2011) Aerobic Fitness and Its Relationship to Sport, Exercise Training and Habitual Physical Activity during Youth. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, 849-858.
[15] Duncan, S.C., Duncan, T.E., Strycker, L.A. and Chaumeton, N. (2007) A Cohort-Sequential Latent Growth Model of Physical Activity from Ages 12 to 17 Years. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33, 80-89.
[16] Lampard, A.M., Jurkowski, J.M., Lawson, H.A. and Davison, K.K. (2013) Family Ecological Predictors of Physical Activity Parenting in Low-Income Families. Behavioral Medicine, 39, 97-103.
[17] Messiah, S.E., Arheart, K.L., Lopez-Mitnik, G., Lipshultz, S.E. and Miller, T.L. (2013) Ethnic Group Differences in Cardio-Metabolic Disease Risk Factors Independent of Body Mass Index. Obesity, 21, 424-428.
[18] Meredith, M.D. and Welk, G.J. (2010) Fitnessgram/Actvitygram Test Administration Manual. 4th Edition, Human Kinetics, Champaign.
[19] Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (2001) Executive Summary of the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2486-2497.
[20] Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus (2002) American Diabetes Association: Clinical Practice Recommendations 2002. Diabetes Care, 25, S1-S147.
[21] Adegboye, A.R., Anderssen, S.A., Froberg, K., et al. (2011) Recommended Aerobic Fitness Level for Metabolic Health in Children and Adolescents: A Study of Diagnostic Accuracy. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, 722-728.
[22] Baily, D.P., Savory, L.A., Denton, S.J. and Kerr, C.J. (2014) The Association between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in Children Is Mediated by Abdominal Adiposity: The HAPPY Study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Epub Ahead of Print.
[23] Díez-Fernández, A., Sánchez-López, M. and Gulías-González, R., et al. (2015) BMI as a Mediator of the Relationship between Muscular Fitness and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in Children: A Mediation Analysis. PLoS ONE, 10, e0116506.
[24] Brouwer, S.I., Stolk, R.P., Liem, E.T., Lemmink, K. and Corpeleijn, E. (2012) The Role of Fitness in the Association between Fatness and Cardio-Metabolic risk from Childhood to Adolescence. Pediatric Diabetes, 14, 57-65.
[25] Gaesser, G.A., Tucker, W.J., Jarrett, C.L. and Angadi, S.S. (2015) Fitness versus Fatness: Which Influences Health and Mortality Risk the Most? Current Sports Medicine Reports, 14, 327-332.
[26] Tolfrey, K., Jones, A.M. and Campbell, I.G. (2000) The Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on the Lipid-Lipoprotein Profile of Children and Adolescents. Sports Medicine, 29, 99-112.
[27] Mehdad, S., Hamrani, A., Kari, K.E., et al. (2012) Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, Body Fat, Fasting Glucose in a Sample of Moroccan Adolescents Aged 11-17 Years. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2012, 1-7.
[28] Graves, L., Garnett, S.P., Cowell, C.T., et al. (2014) Waist-to-Height and Cardio-Metabolic Risk Factors in Adolescence: Findings from a Prospective Birth Cohort. Pediatric Obesity, 9, 327-338.
[29] Khourey, M., Manlhiot, C. and McCrindle, B.W. (2013) Role of the Waist/Height Ratio in the Cardio-Metabolic Risk Assessment of Children Classified by Body Mass Index. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 62, 742-751.
[30] May, A.L., Kulina, E.V. and Yoon, P.W. (2012) Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors among US Adolescents, 1999-2008. Pediatrics, 129, 1035-1041.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.