High Physical Fitness as a Teen Cuts Later Risk for Atherosclerosis
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High Physical Fitness as a Teen Cuts Later Risk for Atherosclerosis

Findings particularly strong for lower odds of severe coronary stenosis

THURSDAY, March 7, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- High cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength in adolescence are associated with a lower risk for coronary atherosclerosis in middle age, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Ángel Herraiz-Adillo, Ph.D., from Linköping University in Sweden, and colleagues examined associations between physical fitness in male adolescents and coronary and carotid atherosclerosis in middle age. The analysis included 8,986 male adolescents (mean age, 18.3 years) followed for a mean of 38.2 years.

The researchers found that physical fitness showed a reversed J-shaped association with coronary computed tomography angiography-detected stenosis and coronary artery calcium scores. However, there was no consistent association for carotid plaques. In an adjusted analysis, participants in the highest tertile of cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength had lower odds of severe (≥50 percent) coronary stenosis (odds ratios, 0.78 and 0.74, respectively), compared with adolescents in the lowest tertile. 

"The findings are worrying in the sense that there is a clear global trend indicating that young people are less fit now than when these study participants were young in the 1970s and 80s," senior author Pontus Henriksson, also from Linköping University, said in a statement. "Therefore, I believe that these findings may be even more important for those growing up now."

One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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