Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physical fitness may help reduce chronic disease risk in college students

Date:
June 17, 2010
Source:
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Summary:
Staying in shape may bolster the metabolic profiles of first-year college students, even in those with higher than desirable body fat percentages. In an epidemiological study, researchers found an association between physical fitness, body fat percentage and certain metabolic risk factors that are precursors to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

Staying in shape may bolster the metabolic profiles of college students, even in those with higher than desirable body fat percentages. In an epidemiological study, researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University found an association between physical fitness, body fat percentage and certain metabolic risk factors that are precursors to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The data were collected from 564 male and female students who enrolled in the Tufts Longitudinal Health Study (TLHS), which tracked health and health-related behaviors in college students at Tufts University between 1998 and 2007. For the present study, the authors tracked four biomarkers of metabolic risk (high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides and blood glucose levels) in relation to body fat and physical fitness.

Researchers deemed body fat percentage above 23% in women and above 19% in men as higher than desirable and measured fitness based on performance on a 3-minute step test.

"Although cardiovascular disease and diabetes often surface much later in life, our results tell us that men and women in late adolescence and early adulthood are already showing chronic disease risk, but that keeping fit may help reduce this risk," says senior author Jennifer M. Sacheck, PhD, assistant professor at the Friedman School. "Certain metabolic risk factors were closer to recommended levels in both male and female students whom we classified as fit, even if their body fat percentages were higher than desirable."

Physical fitness appeared to have a greater impact on certain metabolic risk factors than body fat. Being fit correlated with lower triglycerides and higher HDL, the healthy cholesterol, in women and lower blood glucose levels in men. The results are published in the June issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

"We saw a stronger correlation between fitness and reduced metabolic risk in women, which may be due to the small number of men who enrolled in our study. At the same time, we also recognize this study enrolled an unusually healthy population of college students," Sacheck says. "Most of the participants had healthier body fat percentages than the average 18 or 19 year-old, yet nearly 25% demonstrated low levels of HDL, one-third demonstrated elevated LDL cholesterol levels, and 11% had high triglycerides, indicating it's not premature to work on reducing chronic disease risk as a college student."

Sacheck adds that future research might also examine the impact of students' diets on metabolic risk. "Many students change their diets drastically when they enter college. Endless food choices in the cafeteria, late-night food deliveries, and alcohol consumption can result in significant weight gain," she says. "Optimally, students should strive to eat well and keep fit. If a student's body fat percentage is higher than desirable, our results suggest exercise may be an important step in improving their health and reducing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes later in life. Even walking to class instead of taking the campus shuttle bus is a start."

The authors received funding for this study from Tufts University and the Rosenberg Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University, Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sacheck, JM; Kuder, JF; Economos, CD. Physical Firness, Adiposity, and Metabolic Risk Factors in Young College Students. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 2010. 42 (6). 1039-1044.

Cite This Page:

Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Physical fitness may help reduce chronic disease risk in college students." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617102905.htm>.
Tufts University, Health Sciences. (2010, June 17). Physical fitness may help reduce chronic disease risk in college students. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617102905.htm
Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Physical fitness may help reduce chronic disease risk in college students." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617102905.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins