Lean mass and fat mass as contributors to physical fitness in an overweight and obese African American population

Lisa R. Yanek, Dhananjay Vaidya, Brian G. Kral, Devon A. Dobrosielski, Taryn F. Moy, Kerry J. Stewart, Diane M. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the association of lean vs fat mass with fitness in healthy, overweight and obese African Americans from families with early-onset coronary disease. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Baltimore, Maryland. Participants: 191 healthy, overweight, sedentary African Americans (69% women; aged 44.8 ± 11 years; body mass index 34 6 5 kg/m2). Main Outcome Measures: Anthropometrics, smoking, blood pressure, lipids, c-reactive protein, and glucose were assessed with standard methods; body composition was determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry; cardiorespiratory fitness was expressed as VO2peak attained during a maximal treadmill test. Results: In both men and women, greater lean mass was independently associated with higher VO2peak (P<.05) and explained .21% of the variance in VO2peak, adjusted for body mass index, fat mass, important covariables, and nonindependence of families. Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study, lean mass was the key determinant of cardiorespiratory fitness, independent of sex, age, and magnitude of obesity. These data provide a strong rationale for examining whether interventions that increase lean mass may also improve fitness, even among high-risk overweight and obese African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • African Americans
  • Body composition
  • Obesity
  • Physical fitness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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