Background: Obesity is a worldwide epidemic affecting adults and children. Social changes throughout history have contributed to modifications in nutrition and physical activity levels. These changes in lifestyle affected health, increasing the number of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Obese children already have a low grade systemic inflammation as well as markers of increased cardiovascular risk. The endothelial function is an important and early marker of atherosclerotic disease.
Objective and hypotheses: To assess whether physical activity and fitness levels affect low grade inflammation and endothelial function in children. To investigate the influence of physical activity and fitness on the metabolic profile and microcirculation of prepubertal or early pubertal children classified according to the BMI.
Method: After physical examination, 62 school children answered a questionnaire about activity level (physical activity questionaire for older children) and performed a physical fitness test (yoyo test). Twelve-hour-fasting blood samples were collected for lipidogram, glucose, insulin, leptin, interleukin-6 and adiponectin levels. The microcirculation was evaluated by noininvasive plethysmography after venous occlusion. Body composition was assessed by DXA.
Results: Significant differences were detected in obese vs eutrophic children regarding metabolic profile, serum level of inflammatory citokines and vasodilation capacity. Even though less active children had higher levels of inflammatory markers and worse endothelial function in comparison with more active children, the main predictor of metabolic endothelial dysfunction and increased inflammatory markers was the weight excess.
Conclusion: Young children (Tanner 12) already exhibit metabolic abnormalities due to excessive weight. Physical fitness seems to reduce these abnormalities, although the main determinant seemed to be the weight excess. Based on this data it can be suggested that diet management in combination with regular exercise to increase physical fitness should be stimulated in prepubertal children to reduce the risk for the development of future metabolic or cardiovascular diseases.
Funding: This work was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes), Brazil and by Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
01 Oct 2015 - 03 Oct 2015