Posted on Mar 29, 2019, 8 p.m.
Youths with low physical fitness, obesity, or a combination of the two are more likely to develop chronic disability later in life, as published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
This population based cohort study included more than one million male adolescents indicates that low cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity are associated with receipt of a disability pension due to a wide range of disease and causes later in life, according to Pontus Henriksson, PhD of the Karolinska Institute.
Noncommunicable disease such as musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and psychiatric disorders are the main causes of disability and premature death which also impose a growing burden on society. Identification of early life and modifiable risk factors can hold significance for public health efforts to combat these chronic diseases.
Adolescent obesity has been linked to later receipt of disability pension, however few studies assess the links between fitness in adolescence and later chronic disability, or between the combination of cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity with disability.
Data was examined on weight and cardiorespiratory fitness among 1,079,128 males between the ages of 16-19 included in the Swedish Military Service Conscription Registry. Outcomes were examined using data from linked national registries to see who would later receive medical disability pensions. Over a median follow up of 28.3 years 54,304 men received a disability pension.
Low cardiorespiratory fitness was strongly associated with later life disability, those in the lowest fitness decile had a 95% confidence interval greater risk of disability pension due to all causes than those in the highest decile; and higher cardiorespiratory fitness reduced the risk for later life disability in all BMI categories.
Obesity was associated with a risk for later in life disability, those with the greatest risk were observed in severe obesity who had a 95% confidence interval greater risk for receipt of disability pension due to all causes than those with normal weight.
The study was noted to have limitations including an absence of data on smoking and alcohol intake, and due to the population being all male generalization to females may be limited.
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