Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Not BMI, Linked to Mortality

Cardiorespiratory fitness lowers all-cause, cardiovascular mortality in men, irrespective of BMI

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Men who maintain or improve their cardiorespiratory fitness (fitness) have a reduced risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, irrespective of body mass index (BMI) change, according to a study published in the Dec. 6 issue of Circulation.

Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues investigated the independent and combined correlations of changes in fitness and BMI with all-cause and CVD mortality, among 14,345 men (mean age, 44 years). Participants underwent at least two medical examinations, at baseline and after an average of 6.3 years (last examination). Fitness was measured in metabolic equivalents (METs), and BMI was calculated. Participants were divided into loss, stable, or gain groups according to their BMI and fitness changes, and were followed up for 11.4 years after the last examination.

The investigators identified 914 all-cause and 300 CVD deaths during the follow-up. In multivariable analyses, including BMI change, stable fitness and fitness gain were significantly associated with reduced all-cause and CVD mortality compared with fitness loss (hazard ratios, 0.70 and 0.73, respectively, for stable fitness; 0.61 and 0.58, respectively, for fitness gain). A fitness improvement of 1-MET correlated with a 15 percent reduction in all-cause mortality risk and a 19 percent reduction in CVD mortality risk. After adjusting for possible confounders and fitness change, BMI change did not correlate with all-cause or CVD mortality. Irrespective of the BMI change, men who lost fitness had higher all-cause and CVD mortality risks, in combined analyses.

"Preventing fitness loss with age, regardless of whether BMI changes, is important for mortality risk reduction," the authors write.

The study was partially funded by the Coca-Cola company.

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