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Nutrition may affect adolescents' fitness levels
Updated: 2012-08-13 15:01:15 CST Category: General Wellness
For parents who are worried about their children's health status, blood testing can reveal information about factors such as cholesterol, blood sugar and nutrient deficiencies. New research suggests that low levels of certain vitamins and minerals may be associated with poor physical fitness among adolescents.
This conclusion is based on a study of nearly 1,100 Europeans, aged 12.5 to 17.5 years. Researchers collected blood samples to measure levels of several nutrients. Meanwhile, the scientists assessed the study participants' level of physical fitness by administering long-jump and shuttle run tests, the latter of which helped record maximal oxygen consumption.
Results showed that among males, hemoglobin, retinol, beta carotene and alpha-tocopherol were tied to muscular fitness. These nutrients, save for alpha-tocopherol, were also associated with cardiorespiratory fitness, which also benefited from vitamin C.
In females, beta carotene and vitamin D were relevant to both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness.
"The associations between physical fitness and iron or vitamin status observed in this cross-sectional study in adolescents should be followed up by a study specifically designed to evaluate causal relationships," the authors wrote in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
These nutrients are all measurable with blood testing.
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