Research Study Abstract

Differences in Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Physical Activity and Obesity Among Caucasians and Non Caucasians in Norway

  • Published on 05/01/2002

Purpose To evaluate the differences between Caucasians and non-Caucasians with regard to cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity and obesity measures.

Methods Four hundred and ten 9-year old children and 347 15-year old youths participated in a cross-sectional study as a part of the European Youth Heart Study. The non-Caucasians constituted 17% of the study population. Cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak) was indirectly measured using an incremental, maximal bicycle ergometer test. The Computer Science and Application (CSA) activity monitor was used to register physical activity. Identification of pubertal stage was determined from a scale of pictures according to Tanner. Obesity measurements included skinfold thickness.

Results Significant differences (p < 0.005) were observed for both age groups and gender regarding VO2peak, which was lower for the non-Caucasians, The physical activity score was significant lower for the non-Caucasian 15-year old girls compared with their Caucasian counterparts. The sum of four skinfolds was significantly higher in non-Caucasian 9-year old girls arid I 5- year old boys When the data was analyzed using the linear regression model, the differences in VO2peak and physical activity between Caucasians and non-Caucasians could not solely be due to ethnicity (data adjusted for pubertal stage and gender). The ethnicity contributed significant to the obesity differences.

Conclusion There was a difference between Caucasians and non-Caucasians concerning VO2peak for both age groups and gender. The difference in physical activity was evident only for the 15-year old girls. The reason for this observation is riot known. Ethnicity was an important contributor to the obesity differences in this study population.


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise


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