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Fat mass modifies the association of fat-free mass with symptom-limited treadmill duration in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

BACKGROUND: The assessment of fat mass and fat-free mass in relation to the symptom-limited maximal exercise duration (Max(dur)) of a treadmill test allows for insight into the association of body composition with treadmill performance potential. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the complex associations between fat mass and fat-free mass and Max(dur) in a population setting. DESIGN: The Max(dur) of a graded exercise treadmill test and body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were estimated in 2413 black and white men and women aged 38-50 y from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort. RESULTS: The mean Max(dur) was approximately 7.5 s shorter per kilogram of fat mass in both men and women and independent of fat-free mass, height, race, television watching, physical activity, systolic blood pressure, lung function, and education. Fat mass modified the association of fat-free mass with the Max(dur) (2-way interaction P < 0.001), and the interaction was stronger in women than in men. In men in the lowest fat-mass quartile, the Max(dur) was 1.3 s longer per kilogram of fat-free mass and was 0.5 s shorter per kilogram of fat-free mass in the highest fat-mass quartile. In contrast, in women with the least fat mass, the Max(dur) was 2.7 s longer per kilogram of fat-free mass and was 2.8 s shorter per kilogram of fat-free mass in the highest fat-mass quartile. CONCLUSIONS: The Max(dur) was negatively related to fat mass. Fat-free mass in obese people contributed little to the treadmill performance potential as assessed by the Max(dur), although the contribution of fat-free mass was positive in thinner people.

Authors: Zhu N; Jacobs DR Jr; Sidney S; Sternfeld B; Carnethon M; Lewis CE; Shay CM; Sood A; Bouchard C

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):385-91. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

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