: Cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness are important health indicators that support optimal physical functioning. Understanding the relationship between body mass index and these health markers may contribute to the development of evidence-based interventions to address obesity-related complications. The relationship between body mass index, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness has not been well explored, particularly in female adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between body mass index, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness among South African adolescent girls in low-income communities. Methods
: This cross-sectional study included 151 adolescent girls, aged 13–16 years. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using the 20 m shuttle run test and musculoskeletal fitness was assessed using a variety of field-based tests. Height and weight were measured with standardised procedures and body mass index (BMI) was derived by the formula [BMI = weight (kg)/height (m)2
]. Participants were categorised into three BMI groups using the International Obesity Task Force age- and gender-specific cut-off points. Pearson correlations were used to determine the association between body mass index, cardiorespiratory fitness and measures of musculoskeletal fitness at p
≤ 0.05. Results
: Overweight and obese girls were found to have lower cardiorespiratory fitness, decreased lower extremity muscular strength, greater grip strength, and more hypermobile joints compared to normal-weight peers. BMI was negatively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and lower extremity muscular strength. Conclusions
: The findings indicate that increased body mass correlates with decreased cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness. Interventions should be developed to target these important components of physical fitness in this demographic group.
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