Evidence suggests that cardiovascular (CV) fitness below the 20th percentile for age and gender is associated with increased cardiac death and all cause mortality. This study assessed the association between CV fitness and sub-clinical atherosclerosis (SCA) in a self-selected group of participants in a cardiology-based prevention program. The study involved a single visit observation of participants. 240 apparently healthy asymptomatic adults 1.5mm and >50% of the surrounding intima-media) or CIMT >75th percentile. Anyone with a prior history of clinically apparent atherosclerosis or diabetes was excluded from the study. The mean age of participants was 50 yrs (SD= 8.7). 113 participants (47%) had excellent/superior CV fitness. 41 (17%) were classified good, 36 (15%) fair, 20 (8%) poor and 30 (12%) very poor. 69 (61%) participants with excellent/superior CV fitness had advanced atherosclerosis (plaque=43%; n=49 or CIMT >75th percentile=l8%; n=20). In the good classification there were 26 (64%) with plaque (49%; n=20) or CIMT >75th percentile (15%; n=6). There were 23 (63%) in the fair classification with plaque (44%; n=16) or CIMT >75th percentile (19%; n=7), 11 (55%) in the poor classification with plaque (45%; n=9) or CIMT >75th percentile (10%; n=2) and 17 (56%) in the very poor classification with plaque (53%; n=16) or CIMT >75th percentile (3%; n=1). 58 (24%) of the total number of participants were classified with superior CV fitness (95-100th percentile); of which 36 (62%) had SCA (plaque=45%; n=26 or CIMT >75th percentile=17%; n=10). In this self-selected population, CIMT testing detected evidence of SCA across all age-gender fitness classifications, which included very fit individuals. Further investigation is needed to identify other factors that may be associated with increased CV risk in apparently healthy fit asymptomatic adults.
Increased childhood obesity and diabetes is a national concern within the US and this has raised questions about the way in which school systems have traditionally structured physical education (PE) programs. This study investigated the feasibility of using the Polar TriFIT System as part of an initiative to assess the health-related fitness (HRF) of children participating in a middle and high school PE program. Measures of HRF (cardiovascular, muscular, flexibility & body composition) were assessed with the Polar TriFIT System in 4350 students aged 9-18 years (52% boys) from 20 schools in Fargo, North Dakota over a 2-year period (2004-2005). TriFIT is a self-contained multi-station computerized assessment device with customized software designed to quantify and track measures of HRF and generate individual or group progress reports. In this preliminary analysis, height and weight were obtained to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. Nineteen percent of the boys and 9% of the girls were considered to be overweight according values determined by International Obesity Task Force. The Polar Tri-FIT System appears to be a feasible method of effectively assessing measures of HRF in a time efficient manner during a school PE program. Further analysis of the data will provide a more comprehensive description of the levels HRF in this population. This method of assessment could assist school PE programs in the delivery of HRF interventions.