Identifying poor cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight and obese children and adolescents by using heart rate variability analysis under resting conditions.

Redón P; Grassi G; Redon J; Álvarez-Pitti J; Lurbe E;

Blood Pressure [Blood Press] 2019 Dec 12, pp. 1-8. Date of Electronic Publication: 2019 Dec 12.

Background: Childhood obesity, including overweight, continues increasing worldwide affecting health expectancy, quality of life and healthcare expenditure. These subjects have higher probability of suffering or developing cardio metabolic risk factors. Recent studies have revealed cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) as a valuable clinical parameter to identify these subjects and have even suggested cut-off values. However, evaluating CRF in overweight and obese youth can be difficult to implement, unfriendly and expensive.
Objective: Develop a screening tool to identify high-risk subjects in a representative population of those attending overweight/obesity assessment programmes without prior intervention. It will be based on heart rate variability parameters, which has strong association with CRF and cardio metabolic risk factors.
Methods: Sixty-three subjects, overweight and obese, between 9 and 17 years of age, and of both sexes were enrolled. None of them had secondary obesity syndromes and/or suffered from acute or chronic disease. Anthropometric parameters, electrocardiogram signal recording under resting conditions and cardiorespiratory fitness – evaluated by oxygen consumption and time elapsed of cardiopulmonary exercise test – were measured.
Results: Significant differences in the sympathetic nervous system activity – assessed by heart rate variability analysis – are observed when grouping by overweight and obesity degree as well as by CRF (poor/normal). Body mass index, puberty and sympathetic nervous system activity are the significant variables of a logistic regression model develop to identify poor CRF individuals. Its accuracy reaches 92%.
Conclusions: A screening tool based on heart rate variability and anthropometric parameters was developed to identify subjects with higher probability of suffering or developing cardio metabolic risk factors.