The evidence on the associations of cardiorespiratory fitness, body adiposity and sports participation with arterial stiffness in children and adolescents with chronic diseases or physical disabilities is limited.Methods
Altogether 140 children and adolescents with chronic diseases or physical disabilities participated in this cross-sectional study. Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed using maximal exercise test with respiratory gas analyses either using shuttle run, shuttle ride, or cycle ergometer test. Cardiorespiratory fitness was defined as peak oxygen uptake by body weight or fat-free mass. Body adiposity was assessed using waist circumference, body mass index standard deviation score and body fat percentage. Sports participation was assessed by a questionnaire. Aortic pulse wave velocity and augmentation index were assessed by a non-invasive oscillometric tonometry device.Results
Peak oxygen uptake/body weight (standardised regression coefficient β −0.222, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.386 to −0.059, P = 0.002) and peak oxygen uptake/fat-free mass (β −0.173, 95% CI −0.329 to −0.017, P = 0.030) were inversely and waist circumference directly (β 0.245, 95% CI 0.093 to 0.414, P = 0.002) associated with aortic pulse wave velocity. However, the associations of the measures of cardiorespiratory fitness with aortic pulse wave velocity were attenuated after further adjustment for waist circumference. A higher waist circumference (β −0.215, 95% CI −0.381 to −0.049, P = 0.012) and a higher body mass index standard deviation score (β 0.218, 95% CI −0.382 to −0.054, P = 0.010) were related to lower augmentation index.Conclusions
Poor cardiorespiratory fitness and higher waist circumference were associated with increased arterial stiffness in children and adolescents with chronic diseases and physical disabilities. The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and arterial stiffness was partly explained by waist circumference.