Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Physical Activity, and Insulin Resistance in Children

  • Eero A. Haapala, Petri Wiklund, Niina Lintu, Tuomo Tompuri, Juuso Väistö, Taija Finni, Ina M. Tarkka, Titta Kemppainen, Alan R. Barker, Ulf Ekelund, Soren Brage, Timo A. Lakka
  • Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, November 2019, Wolters Kluwer Health
  • DOI: 10.1249/mss.0000000000002216

Physical activity and reduced sedentary time may decrease risk of type 2 diabetes in children

What is it about?

Good aerobic fitness has been considered a powerful marker of health but inappropriate methods used to normalise it for body size have make it hard to interpret the associations between fitness and health. Physically more active children also have better metabolic and cardiovascular health profile than their inactive peers. Therefore, we investigated the importance of body fat percentage, aerobic fitness, physical activity, or sedentary behaviour in insulin resistance, that is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, in children aged 6-8 years.

Why is it important?

Our results show that children with higher body fat percentage were also more insulin resistant - however, children with higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of sedentary time had lower insulin resistance regardless of their body fat percentage. Aerobic fitness, when body size and composition were appropriately controlled for, was not associated with insulin resistance. Thus, our findings suggest that increasing daily physical activity and decreasing sedentary time may be more important than focusing on exercise aimed at increasing aerobic fitness.


Dr. Eero Haapala
University of Jyväskylä

This paper was really nice to write with several national and international collaborators. It should also ne noted that master thesis of ms Kemppainen form part of this study and she made a good work with the data.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Eero Haapala