Introduction: Body mass index (BMI) categories and physical fitness are associated but the reciprocal relationship between BMI categories and physical fitness has not been investigated. This study aims to investigate the longitudinal reciprocal relationship between BMI categories and physical fitness.
Methods: This is a population-based 4-year cohort study in 48 elementary schools. Children aged 6 to 9 years at recruitment were included. BMI categories and physical fitness including handgrip strength, core muscle endurance, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness were measured using standard equipment and protocol.
Results: Among 26 392 eligible participants, 19 504 (73.9%) were successfully followed for 3 years. Baseline obesity prevalence was 5.9%. After 3 years, those who were unfit at baseline had an increased risk of obesity (risk ratio [RR] 1.41, 95% CI 1.16-1.71, P <.001) and those who were fit at baseline had a decreased risk of obesity (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.60-0.80, P <.001) compared with moderately fit children. Furthermore, improvement of fitness predicted decreased risk of obesity. Similarly, normal body weight also predicted better physical fitness. The path analysis confirmed a strong reciprocal relationship between physical fitness and obesity.
Conclusions: Better physical fitness was prospectively associated with normal weight and vice versa. Physically fit children were more likely to maintain a healthy weight and those with a healthy weight were more likely to be physically fit, which is important for healthy development. Copyright © 2020 World Obesity Federation.
CitationHo, F. K., So, H.-K., Wong, R. S., Tung, K. T. S., Louie, L. H. T., Tung, J., . . . Ip, P. (2020). The reciprocal relationship between body mass index categories and physical fitness: A 4-year prospective cohort study of 20 000 Chinese children. Pediatric Obesity, 15(9). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12646
- Body mass index
- Physical fitness
- Prospective cohort study
- Reciprocal relationship