Influence of body composition on physical fitness in adolescents
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Background and objectives: Childhood obesity is one of the main public health issues facing advanced societies. The Spanish population presents 28.6% overweight or obese adolescents, and Extremadura, 22.3%. Physical fitness is considered one of the most important health markers and a common predictor of morbidity and mortality caused by cardiovascular diseases. Thus, fitness tests are needed for health monitoring, especially in overweight and obese adolescents. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the relationship between body composition and physical fitness in adolescents and to analyse if there are differences in physical condition and body composition between the sexes, as well as to compare the different body mass index (BMI) categories to each other. This project also tried to find regression equations to predict the physical fitness test results. Materials and Methods: A total of 225 adolescents were recruited. Weight status was classified according to WHO 2007 standards. Body composition variables (i.e., BMI, fat mass (FM), FM percentage (FM%), and fat-free mass (FFM)) and physical fitness (standing long jump (SLJ), speed–agility (SA), cardiorespiratory fitness (CF), and handgrip strength (HS)) were assessed. Results: Significant differences were found between the sexes in body composition (FM%, FM, and FFM) and physical fitness (SLJ, SA, CF, and HS) (p < 0.001) in favour of males. Significant differences were also found in speed (p = 0.002), CF (p < 0.001), and SLJ (p = 0.004) in favour of normal-weight adolescents compared to overweight and obese adolescents. Contrarily, the outcomes revealed a significantly greater HS (p = 0.014) in favour of overweight and obese participants compared to normal-weight adolescents. Moreover, the results showed that CF and SLJ correlated inversely with BMI, FM%, and total FM. There was also a direct relationship between SA and FM percentage, as well as between HS and FFM. Finally, four fitness test predictive models are proposed based on body composition, age, sex, and BMI. Conclusions: Overweight and obese adolescents have lower levels of physical fitness than their normal-weight peers, regardless of their sex. Normal-ranged body composition values are related to a greater physical fitness in adolescents. Furthermore, this study presents several equations that can help to predict the performance of different fitness tests in adolescents. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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