Descriptive Epidemiology of Cardiorespiratory Fitness in UK Adults: The Fenland Study.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2022
PubMed ID : 36730941
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is rarely measured in population studies. Most studies of CRF do not examine differences by population subgroups or seasonal trends. We examined how estimated CRF levels vary by anthropometric, sociodemographic, and behavioural characteristics in a population-based cohort of UK adults (the Fenland Study).
We used a validated submaximal exercise test to obtain CRF estimates (CRFestimated) in 5976 women and 5316 men, residing in the East of England. CRFestimated was defined as estimated maximal oxygen consumption per kilogram total body mass (VO2maxtbm) and fat-free mass (VO2maxffm). Descriptive statistics were computed across anthropometric and sociodemographic characteristics, and across the year. Progressive multivariable analyses were performed to examine associations with physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) and BMI.
Mean ± SD VO2maxtbm was lower in women (35.2 ± 7.5 ml·min-1·kg-1) than men (41.7 ± 7.3 ml·min-1·kg-1) but VO2maxffm was similar (women: 59.2 ± 11.6 ml·min-1·kg-1; men: 62.0 ± 10.3 ml·min-1·kg-1). CRFestimated was inversely associated with age but not after adjustment for PAEE. People in more physically demanding jobs were fitter compared to those in sedentary jobs, but this association was attenuated in women and reversed in men following adjustment for total PAEE. PAEE and BMI were positively associated with CRFestimated at all levels of adjustment when expressed relative to fat-free mass. CRFestimated was 4% higher in summer than in winter among women, but did not differ by season among men.
CRFestimated was inversely associated with age but less steeply than anticipated, suggesting older generations are comparatively fitter than younger generations. PAEE and BMI were stronger determinants of the variance in CRFestimated than other characteristic including age. This emphasizes the importance of modifiable physical activity behaviours in public health interventions.