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Article

Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Blood Pressure and Ethnicity Are Related to Salivary Cortisol Responses after an Exercise Test in Children: The ExAMIN Youth SA Study

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Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART), Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
2
Medical Research Council, Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7898; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157898
Received: 5 July 2021 / Revised: 21 July 2021 / Accepted: 22 July 2021 / Published: 26 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Children's Health)
Background: Childhood elevated circulatory stress mediators such as cortisol seem to play an important role in the development of hypertension and metabolic disorders later in life. Little is known about the association of body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), blood pressure (BP) and ethnicity with cortisol reactivity in young children. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 324 black and 227 white school children (aged 7.4 ± 1.0 years) were screened for salivary cortisol reactivity, body mass index, BP and CRF (shuttle run) by standardised assessments for children. Results: Children in the lower cortisol reactivity percentile (<25th) had a higher heart rate (87.0 ± 12.9 bpm) and a lower CRF (3.1 ± 1.3 stages) compared to children in the upper (>25th) percentile (86.2 ± 11.5 bpm and 3.5 ± 1.7 stages, respectively). At baseline, children of black ethnicity had a higher cortisol level (p < 0.001). Immediately before the exercise test, no associations of obesity, BP, CRF and ethnicity with cortisol levels were found. In analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) we found that low CRF, high BP and black ethnicity were independently associated with lower cortisol reactivity by performing the shuttle run test (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Low CRF and high BP were associated with lower cortisol reactivity after a cardiorespiratory exercise test. Black children showed a lower cortisol reactivity which may contribute to the earlier onset of hypertension reported in black compared to white populations. Primary prevention programs need to focus on improving physical fitness to reduce the growing prevalence of cardiometabolic disorders during childhood. View Full-Text
Keywords: salivary cortisol; childhood obesity; physical fitness; ethnicity salivary cortisol; childhood obesity; physical fitness; ethnicity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Köchli, S.; Botha-Le Roux, S.; Uys, A.S.; Kruger, R. Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Blood Pressure and Ethnicity Are Related to Salivary Cortisol Responses after an Exercise Test in Children: The ExAMIN Youth SA Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7898. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157898

AMA Style

Köchli S, Botha-Le Roux S, Uys AS, Kruger R. Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Blood Pressure and Ethnicity Are Related to Salivary Cortisol Responses after an Exercise Test in Children: The ExAMIN Youth SA Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(15):7898. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157898

Chicago/Turabian Style

Köchli, Sabrina, Shani Botha-Le Roux, Aletta S. Uys, and Ruan Kruger. 2021. "Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Blood Pressure and Ethnicity Are Related to Salivary Cortisol Responses after an Exercise Test in Children: The ExAMIN Youth SA Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 15: 7898. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157898

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