Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2013, Article ID 134835, 10 pages
Research Article

The Relation between Aerobic Fitness, Muscular Fitness, and Obesity in Children from Three Countries at Different Stages of the Physical Activity Transition

1School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, 28 Division Street, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6
2Department of Recreation Management and Exercise Science, Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
3Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L1
4Institute of Physical Activity, Sport and Health, University of Guadalajara, Avenida Juárez No. 976, Colonia Centro, CP 44100, Guadalajara, JAL, Mexico
5Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, 28 Division Street, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6

Received 21 November 2012; Accepted 16 January 2013

Academic Editors: D. Micic and C. Schmidt

Copyright © 2013 M. Héroux et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The physical activity transition is contributing to an increase in childhood obesity and a decrease in fitness worldwide. This study compared body composition and fitness measures in children from three countries and examined intercountry differences in the relationship between these variables. Methods. Participants consisted of 736 Canadian, 193 Mexican, and 179 Kenyan children aged 9–13 years. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, triceps skinfolds, aerobic fitness, and muscular fitness were measured. Linear regression was used to examine associations between variables. Results. The prevalence of obesity was the highest in Mexican children (9.2% boys, 8.4% girls) and the lowest in Kenyan children (0.9% boys, 2.8% girls). Aerobic fitness ( in mL/kg/min) was the highest in Kenyan children (50.2 boys, 46.7 girls) and the lowest in Canadian children (41.3 boys, 38.3 girls). Aerobic fitness was negatively associated with body composition measures irrespective of country and sex. Mexican children with low aerobic fitness had higher body composition measures than Canadian and Kenyan children. Muscular fitness was not associated with the body composition measures in Kenyan children but was a weak positive correlate of BMI and waist circumference in Canadian and Mexican children. Conclusion. The current study provides some evidence to support the physical activity transition hypothesis.