Fitness level and body composition are associated with inflammation in non-obese children

Jennifer J F McVean, Aaron L. Carrel, Jens C. Eickhoff, David B. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Childhood obesity and poor fitness are associated with insulin resistance (IR), risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Elevated markers of inflammation (e.g. C-reactive protein [CRP]) are independent predictors of CHD. Whether higher percent body fat and poor fitness in non-obese children are associated with evidence of inflammation and IR is unclear. We evaluated 75 children with non-obese body mass index (BMI) for age (<95th percentile), ages 11-14 years for fasting insulin, glucose, adiponectin, CRP, body composition, and maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). CRP correlated positively with body composition (BMI z-score, p = 0.00062; percent body fat, p = 0.00007; and total body fat in grams, p = 0.00006) and negatively with VO2max, p = 0.036. Using multivariate analysis, VO2max and percent body fat were both independent predictors of CRP. Fasting insulin and insulin resistance as assessed by QUICKI did not correlate with CRP, fitness, or fatness in these non-obese children. Adiponectin showed no significant correlations, and gender did not influence correlation analyses. We conclude that in non-obese children, low fitness and higher body fat are both associated with inflammation (i.e. higher levels of CRP). This observation strengthens the importance of promoting both fitness and healthy body composition in all children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Fitness
  • Inflammation
  • Non-obese children


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