Young Canadian adults: They may be fit, but are they healthy?

David S Thompson, Joey Farrell, Tracey M Larocque, Ian J Newhouse


Background: Established relationships exist between health-related fitness and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in older adults, but this relationship in young adults (18-30 years) is less clear. Current medical practices do not actively use blood lipid testing to screen for CVD in young adults however, non-optimal lipids in young adults have been associated with coronary atherosclerosis later in life.

Purpose: The goal was to explore the relationship between health-related fitness and biological CVD risk factors in young male and female Canadian adults.

Method: Sixty-seven individuals participated in the study. Fasting levels of HDL-C, LDL-C, TC, Triglycerides, and Hs-CRP were obtained and compared to the following health-related fitness measures; body mass index, waist circumference, Rockport Walk Test, YMCA Modified Sit and Reach Test, right angle push-ups, partial curl-ups, and wall-sit. The Healthy Physical Activity Participation Questionnaire, Par-Q, and Fantastic Lifestyle Checklist questionnaires were used to measure lifestyle behaviours.

Results: In men, relationships were found between triglycerides and body mass index (r(27)=.408, p<0.05), waist circumference (r(27)=.541, p<0.01), and the Rockport Walk Test (r(27)= -.500, p<0.01). In women, relationships were found between TC/HDL-C and WC (r(36)=.563, p<0.01), BMI (r(36)=.580, p<0.01), Rockport Walk Test (r(36)=-.496, p<0.01), push-ups (r(37)=-.323, p<0.05), and partial curl-ups (r(37)=-.359, p<0.05).

Conclusions: Findings revealed significant relationships between many health-related fitness components and biological CVD risk factors. Although appearing healthy based on the fitness tests and engaged in healthy lifestyle practices based on the questionnaires, there remains a significant amount of biological CVD risk among young Canadian adults that merits further investigation.


Health-related fitness; CVD risk; young adults; blood lipids; Hs-CRP

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ISSN: 19206216