BACKGROUND: The relationship between cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRF) and aerobic power (VO(2max)) scaled as mL O(2) per kilogram body mass is controversial because mass includes both fat and fat-free mass, and fat mass is independently associated with the CMRF. AIM: To examine common units used to scale VO(2max) and their relationships to mean blood pressure (MBP), total cholesterol (TC), HDL cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and cumulative risk score (z-score). SUBJECTS: 1784, 8-18 year-old youths, 938 girls and 886 boys. METHODS: Fasting blood samples were obtained. VO(2max) was estimated in mL/min from cycle ergometry and scaled to body mass (kg), fat free mass (kg(FFM)), body surface area (m(2)), height (cm) and allometric (mL/kg(0.67)/min). RESULTS: Unadjusted correlations between CMRF and many of the scaled VO(2max) units were significant (p < 0.0001), especially for MBP, HOMA-IR, HDL and z-score, with lower correlations for TC and TG. After adjusting for ancestry, sex, height and body fat associations were greatly weakened (r < 0.09), except for MBP. CONCLUSIONS: On a population basis, the physical characteristics of the child, especially body fat, are more related to CMRF than any scaled units of VO(2max); thus care is needed when relating fitness and health issues.
Annals of Human Biology, 2011, Vol 38, Issue 5, p. 647-54