Mark D. Peterson, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the correlation between muscular strength and cardiometabolic risk clustering in a cohort of 1,421 children (670 boys; 751 girls). The pattern of risk clustering was determined using principal component analysis, and a continuous aggregate score (MetScore) was derived from cardiometabolic risk components (percent body fat, blood pressure, plasma triglyceride levels, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol).
The researchers found that cardiometabolic profiles differed significantly for boys and girls across strength tertiles, such that overall risk was lower for stronger adolescents. Individual correlations were seen for age, body mass index (BMI), cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity participation, strength with multiple risk components, and with overall MetScore. In the adjusted analysis, significant predictors of MetScore were limited to BMI, physical inactivity, and normalized strength capacity (P<0.05). Within the principal component analysis-derived MetScore outcome, percent body fat was the strongest loading coefficient.
“Normalized strength is independently associated with lower cardiometabolic risk in boys and girls,” the authors write. “These findings bolster the importance of early strength acquisition and healthy body composition in childhood.”