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Mayo Clin Proc. 2009 Sep;84(9):780-6. doi: 10.1016/S0025-6196(11)60487-4.

The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and risk of all-cause mortality among women with impaired fasting glucose or undiagnosed diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA.



To evaluate the independent and joint associations among cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), body mass index, and risk of mortality from any cause among women with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or undiagnosed diabetes mellitus (DM).


Female patients (N=3044; mean age, 47.4 years) with IFG or undiagnosed DM completed a maximal exercise treadmill test (between January 26, 1971, and March 21, 2001). The women had no history of a cardiovascular disease event or diagnosed DM at baseline. Cardiorespiratory fitness was defined categorically as low (bottom 20%), moderate (middle 40%), or high (upper 40%) according to previously published Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study guidelines. Body mass index was calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared (kg/m(2)).


During a 16-year follow-up period, 171 deaths occurred. There was an inverse association between CRF and all-cause mortality risk. Women with moderate or high CRF were at lower risk of mortality (moderate CRF, 35% lower; high CRF, 36% lower; P(trend)=.03) than those with low CRF. An exercise capacity lower than 7 metabolic equivalents was associated with a 1.5-fold higher risk of death than an exercise capacity of 9 metabolic equivalents or higher (P(trend)=.05). The multivariate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs), including adjustments for CRF, were higher for heavier patients than for patients of normal weight (overweight patients: HR, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.57-1.30; obese patients: HR, 1.19; 95% confidence interval, 0.70-2.03; P(trend)=.84). Combined analyses showed that women who were overweight or obese and unfit (low CRF) were at more than twice the risk of death than women who were of normal weight and fit (moderate or high CRF).


Cardiorespiratory fitness, not body mass index, is a significant predictor of all-cause mortality among women with IFG or undiagnosed DM. Assessing CRF levels provides important prognostic information independent of traditional risk factors.

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