Left ventricular structure and function in obese adolescents: relations to cardiovascular fitness, percent body fat, and visceral adiposity, and effects of physical training. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the relations of fitness and fatness to left ventricular structure and function in obese adolescents. This project had 2 purposes: 1) to determine the correlations of cardiovascular fitness and adiposity to left ventricular parameters in obese adolescents; and 2) to see the effect of 8 months of physical training (PT) at low and high intensities. DESIGN: Obese 13- to 16-year-olds (N = 81) were tested at baseline and then randomly assigned to lifestyle education (LSE) alone, LSE plus moderate-intensity PT, or LSE plus high-intensity PT. Follow-up testing was conducted 8 months later. Because no significant differences were found between moderate-intensity and high-intensity PT, the groups were combined to form a LSE + PT group. INTERVENTION: Eight months of PT, offered 5 days per week with the target energy expenditure for all PT participants being 250 kcal/session, and LSE every 2 weeks. Outcome Measures. Left ventricular mass divided by height to the 2.7th power (LVM/Ht(2.7)), midwall fractional shortening (MFS), and relative wall thickness (RWT) were measured using M-mode echocardiography. Cardiovascular fitness was measured by a maximal multistage treadmill test; percent body fat (%BF) with dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry; and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) with magnetic resonance imaging. RESULTS: At baseline, high levels of VAT were associated with higher RWT (r = 0.30) and lesser MFS (r = -0.29). Compared with the LSE-alone group, the LSE + PT group significantly improved in cardiovascular fitness and decreased in %BF and VAT. However, there were no significant differences between groups on changes in LVM/Ht(2.7), MFS, or RWT. Individual changes in cardiovascular fitness, %BF, and VAT did not correlate significantly with interindividual changes in left ventricular structure and function. CONCLUSIONS: High levels of VAT were associated with unfavorable left ventricular structure and function. However, no evidence was provided that an 8-month PT program, which improved cardiovascular fitness and reduced general and visceral adiposity, improved left ventricular structure and function. Future studies consisting of longer training programs and/or greater weight reductions are needed to see whether the adverse left ventricular effects of obesity can be ameliorated by exercise training.

published proceedings

  • Pediatrics

author list (cited authors)

  • Mitchell, B. M., Gutin, B., Kapuku, G., Barbeau, P., Humphries, M. C., Owens, S., Vemulapalli, S., & Allison, J.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Mitchell, Brett M||Gutin, Bernard||Kapuku, Gaston||Barbeau, Paule||Humphries, Matthew C||Owens, Scott||Vemulapalli, Sarita||Allison, Jerry

publication date

  • May 2002