Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: To examine how fitness in both childhood and adulthood is associated with adult obesity and insulin resistance. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A prospective cohort study set in Australia in 2004-2006 followed up a cohort of 647 adults who had participated in the Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey in 1985 and who had undergone anthropometry and cardiorespiratory fitness assessment during the survey. Outcome measures were insulin resistance and obesity, defined as a homeostasis model assessment index above the 75th sex-specific percentile and BMI >or=30 kg/m(2), respectively. RESULTS: Lower levels of child cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with increased odds of adult obesity (adjusted odds ratio [OR] per unit decrease 3.0 [95% CI 1.6-5.6]) and insulin resistance (1.7 [1.1-2.6]). A decline in fitness level between childhood and adulthood was associated with increased obesity (4.5 [2.6-7.7]) and insulin resistance (2.1 [1.5-2.9]) per unit decline. CONCLUSIONS: A decline in fitness from childhood to adulthood, and by inference a decline in physical activity, is associated with obesity and insulin resistance in adulthood. Programs aimed at maintaining high childhood physical activity levels into adulthood may have potential for reducing the burden of obesity and type 2 diabetes in adults.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Care

Publication Date





683 - 687


Adolescent, Adult, Aging, Australia, Child, Exercise, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Heart, Humans, Insulin Resistance, Male, Obesity, Physical Fitness, Respiratory Function Tests, Socioeconomic Factors