The results of a recent Baylor University study showed that early strength training can lead to a decrease in cardiometabolic health risks in children and adolescents. Paul M. Gordon, PhD, of the Baylor University School of Education, concludes that adding strength-building exercises will help adolescents reduce the risks of cardiometabolic diseases, such as heart disease. Gordon and his team of researchers collected data from over 1,400 girls and boys, ages 10 to 12 years. Researchers used measurements of the child’s cardiometabolic risk components, including blood pressure and percentage of body fat.

The research team examined numerous potential predictors of positive and negative health, such as fitness, physiologic parameters and behavioral factors. The results of the study showed that boys and girls with greater strength-to-body mass ratios had lower BMIs, lower percent body fat, smaller waist circumferences, higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, and significantly lower clinical markers of risk, according to a Baylor University news release.

Gordon says, “Our study bolsters support for early strength acquisition and strategies to maintain healthy BMIs (body-mass index measurements) and body compositions among children and adolescents. Unfortunately, to date, most clinical reports have focused on the safety or efficacy of strength training in pediatrics, rather than its potential viability for health outcomes.”

With these findings, the research team demonstrated for the first time that strength capacity is robustly associated with lower cardiometabolic risk in adolescents, even after controlling for the influence of BMI, physical activity participation, and cardiorespiratory fitness, as indicated on the Baylor University news release.

Gordon adds that, combined with other research, the results of the study provide support for the use of strengthening exercises to supplement traditional weight loss interventions among pediatric populations.

Source: Baylor University