METHODS: In the Malaysian Health and Adolescents Longitudinal Research Team (MyHEART) study, 1071 healthy secondary school students, aged 13 years old, participated in the step test. Parameters for body composition measures were body mass index z-score, body fat percentage, waist circumference, and waist height ratio. The step test was conducted by using a modified Harvard step test. Heart rate recovery of 1 minute (HRR1min) and heart rate recovery of 2 minutes (HRR2min) were calculated by the difference between the peak pulse rate during exercise and the resting pulse rate at 1 and 2 minutes, respectively. Analysis was done separately based on gender. Pearson correlation analysis was used to determine the association between the HRR parameters with body composition measures, while multiple regression analysis was used to determine which body composition measures was the strongest predictor for HRR.
RESULTS: For both gender groups, all body composition measures were inversely correlated with HRR1min. In girls, all body composition measures were inversely correlated with HRR2min, while in boys all body composition measures, except BMI z-score, were associated with HRR2min. In multiple regression, only waist circumference was inversely associated with HRR2min (p=0.024) in boys, while in girls it was body fat percentage for HRR2min (p=0.008).
CONCLUSION: There was an inverse association between body composition measurements and HRR among apparently healthy adolescents. Therefore, it is important to identify cardio-metabolic risk factors in adolescent as an early prevention of consequent adulthood morbidity. This reiterates the importance of healthy living which should start from young.