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Br J Sports Med. 2015 Jan;49(2):90-4. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091907. Epub 2013 Mar 23.

Muscle strength in youth and cardiovascular risk in young adulthood (the European Youth Heart Study).

Author information

1
Research Unit for Exercise Epidemiology, Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Centre of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
2
Research Unit for Exercise Epidemiology, Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Centre of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK.
3
Research Unit for Exercise Epidemiology, Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Centre of Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Whether muscle strength in youth is related to cardiovascular risk later in life independent of cardiorespiratory fitness is unclear.

METHODS:

We examined the independent association of isometric muscle strength in youth with cardiovascular risk factors in young adulthood using data from the Danish European Youth Heart Study; a population-based prospective cohort study among boys and girls (n=332) followed for up to 12 years. In youth maximal voluntary contractions during isometric back extension and abdominal flexion were determined using a strain-gauge dynamometer and cardiorespiratory fitness was obtained from a maximal cycle ergometer test. Cardiovascular risk factors were obtained in youth and in young adulthood. Associations were examined using multivariable-adjusted regression models including major confounding factors.

RESULTS:

Each 1 SD difference in isometric muscle strength in youth (0.17 N/kg) was inversely associated with body mass index (BMI; -0.60 kg/m(2), 95% CI -0.97 to -0.22), triglyceride (-0.09 mmol/l, 95% CI -0.16 to -0.02), diastolic blood pressure (BP) (-1.22 mm Hg, 95% CI -2.15 to -0.29) and a composite cardiovascular risk factor score (-0.61 SD, 95% CI -1.03 to -0.20) in young adulthood in multivariable-adjusted analyses including fitness. Associations to triglyceride, diastolic BP and the cardiovascular risk factor score remained with additional adjustment for waist circumference or BMI. Each 1 SD difference in isometric muscle strength in youth was significantly associated with 0.59 (95% CI 0.40 to 0.87) lower odds of general overweight/obesity in young adulthood (p=0.007) and was marginally associated with incident raised BP, raised triglyceride and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study suggests that greater isometric muscle strength in youth is associated with lower levels of cardiovascular risk factors in young adulthood independent of fitness, adiposity and other confounding factors.

PMID:
23525553
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2012-091907
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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