Abstract 15045: Endothelial Function Improves With Physical Fitness In Adolescents - Primary Cardiovascular Prevention Must Start In Childhood!
Introduction: The decrease in physical activity over the past decades is one of the most important causes for the increase in overweight, obesity and cardiovascular risk factors in children. Endothelial dysfunction is an early indicator for developing atherosclerosis that can be found in obese or diabetic children. Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that daily physical exercise at school is effective to improve fitness and endothelial function even in healthy students.
Methods: The "Leipzig School Project" investigates the influence of one daily hour of physical exercise integrated in the timetable at school in the intervention group (IG) in comparison to two hours weekly in the control group (CG) on cardiovascular risk factors. Yearly tests included (1) anthropometry, (2) peripheral endothelial function via reactive hyperemic index (RHI) and (3) maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) as a measurement for physical fitness via a treadmill exercise test with spirometry. 699 tests in 381 students at the age of 9 to 18 years (48.2% female; group 1: n=122, 11.3±0.5 years; group 2: n=244, 12.5±0.3 years; group 3: n=140, 13.4±0.3 years; group 4: n=238, 15.2±0.9 years) are analyzed here.
Results: Physical fitness increased in the IG with highest difference between IG and CG in group 3 after three years of intervention (VO2max 48.6±7.6 ml/kg*min in IG, and 47.3±8.6 ml/kg*min in CG, respectively). With increasing age RHI increased significantly from 1.48±0.4 in group 1 to 1.83±0.6 in group 4 (p<0.01; r=0.33). RHI increased earlier in girls than in boys with significant differences in groups 2 and 3. We didn't found significant differences regarding the RHI in our small group of overweight/obese adolescents (11.6%) and the non-obese students. In a stepwise multiple linear regression model age, gender, daily physical exercise and mean blood pressure at rest were significantly influencing factors on the RHI as a marker of peripheral endothelial function as the dependent variable.
Conclusions: Daily physical exercise lessons at school are effective in increasing fitness and endothelial function in healthy adolescents. Implementation of more physical exercise lessons at school improves the health of children and therefore may also lead to better health in later life.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.