Does body fat percentage predict post-exercise heart rate response in non-obese children and adolescents?

Tatjana Jezdimirovic 1 , 2 , Valdemar Stajer 1 , Sasa Semeredi 1 , Julio Calleja-Gonzalez 3  and Sergej M. Ostojic 1
  • 1 Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, Novi Sad, Serbia
  • 2 Faculty of Sport and Tourism, Sremska Kamenica, Serbia
  • 3 Faculty of Sport Sciences, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Tatjana Jezdimirovic
  • Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Faculty of Sport and Tourism, Educons University, Sremska Kamenica, Serbia
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, Valdemar Stajer, Sasa Semeredi, Julio Calleja-Gonzalez
  • Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
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and Sergej M. Ostojic

Abstract

Background:

A correlation between adiposity and post-exercise autonomic regulation has been established in overweight and obese children. However, little information exists about this link in non-obese youth. The main purpose of this cross-sectional study was to describe the relationship between body fat percentage (BFP) and heart rate recovery after exercise [post-exercise heart rate (PEHR)], a marker of autonomic regulation, in normal-weight children and adolescents.

Methods:

We evaluated the body composition of 183 children and adolescents (age 15.0±2.3 years; 132 boys and 51 girls) who performed a maximal graded exercise test on a treadmill, with the heart rate monitored during and immediately after exercise.

Results:

A strong positive trend was observed in the association between BFP and PEHR (r=0.14; p=0.06). Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that our model explained 18.3% of the variance in PEHR (p=0.00), yet BFP accounted for only 0.9% of the variability in PEHR (p=0.16). The evaluation of the contribution of each independent variable revealed that only two variables made a unique statistically significant contribution to our model (p<0.01), with age contributing 38.7% to our model (p=0.00) while gender accounted for an additional 25.5% (p=0.01). Neither BFP (14.4%; p=0.16) nor cardiorespiratory endurance (5.0%, p=0.60) made a significant unique contribution to the model.

Conclusions:

Body fatness seems to poorly predict PEHR in our sample of non-obese children and adolescents, while non-modifiable variables (age and gender) were demonstrated as strong predictors of heart rate recovery. The low amount of body fat reported in non-obese young participants was perhaps too small to cause disturbances in autonomic nervous system regulation.

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The Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism (JPEM) is the only international journal dedicated exclusively to endocrinology in the neonatal, pediatric and adolescent age groups, and publishes the results of clinical investigations in pediatric endocrinology and basic research. JPEM publishes Review Articles, Original Research, Case Reports, Short Communications and Letters to the Editor.

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