What is it about?

The increased prevalence of childhood obesity has resulted in an increased incidence of sustained low-grade inflammation since childhood. Obesity is the key factor in increasing low-grade inflammation. Sustained low-grade inflammation leads to insulin resistance and arterial dysfunction and promotes the development of heart diseases. A recent study examined how physical fitness affects the incidence of low-grade inflammation. However, high levels of physical fitness are thought to protect against obesity-induced health impairments. We examined how physical fitness affects the incidence of low-grade inflammation.

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Why is it important?

We found that even good physical fitness does not reduce low-grade inflammation in children. While we observed that children with better results in fitness tests, such as sit-ups, standing long jump, and agility shuttle run, also had a lower risk score for low-grade inflammation, higher body fat percentage had a much stronger connection to a higher low-grade inflammation than any physical fitness measure. The role of physical fitness as a determinant of low-grade inflammation also weakened once body fat percentage was considered in the analyses. Aerobic fitness, on the other hand, was not associated with low-grade inflammation at all. In summary, physical fitness does not seem to be very much to do with low-grade inflammation in childhood compared to, for example, body fat percentage or waist circumference. Based on our study, physical fitness and, for example, standing long jump can be a useful indirect method to identify children at elevated risk of low-grade inflammation. Physical fitness testing in identifying risk groups may be helpful, especially when measuring body composition or waist circumference is too sensitive or if measuring them may be considered to cause, for example, limiting eating and excessive weight monitoring.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Cross‐sectional associations between physical fitness and biomarkers of inflammation in children—The PANIC study, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, February 2023, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/sms.14337.
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