Factors Associated with Age-Related Declines in Cardiorespiratory Fitness from Early Adulthood Through Midlife: CARDIA

Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Byron C. Jaeger, Barbara Sternfeld, Erin E. Dooley, Mercedes R. Carnethon, David R. Jacobs, Cora E. Lewis, Bjoern Hornikel, Jared P. Reis, Pamela J. Schreiner, James M. Shikany, Kara M. Whitaker, Stephen Sidney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose This study aimed to describe maximal and submaximal cardiorespiratory fitness from early adulthood to midlife and examine differences in maximal fitness at age 20 yr and changes in fitness overtime by subcategories of sociodemographic, behavioral, and health-related factors. Methods Data include 5018 Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults participants (mean (SD) age, 24.8 (3.7) yr; 53.3% female; and 51.4% Black participants) who completed at least one maximal graded exercise test at baseline and/or the year 7 and 20 exams. Maximal and submaximal fitness were estimated by exercise duration and heart rate at the end of stage 2. Multivariable adjusted linear-mixed models were used to estimate fitness trajectories using age as the mechanism for time after adjustment for covariates. Fitness trajectories from ages 20 to 50 yr in 5-yr increments were estimated overall and by subgroups determined by each factor after adjustment for duration within the less favorable category. Results Mean (95% confidence interval) maximal fitness at age 20 and 50 yr was 613 (607-616) and 357 (350-362) s; submaximal heart rate during this period also reflected age-related fitness declines (126 (125-127) and 138 (137-138) bpm). Compared with men, women had lower maximal fitness at age 20 yr (P < 0.001), which persisted over follow-up (P < 0.001); differences were also found by race within sex strata (all P < 0.001). Differences in maximal fitness at age 20 yr were noted by socioeconomic, behavioral, and health-related status in young adulthood (all P < 0.05), which persisted over follow-up (all P < 0.001) and were generally consistent in sex-stratified analyses. Conclusions Targeting individuals experiencing accelerated fitness declines with tailored intervention strategies may provide an opportunity to preserve fitness throughout midlife to reduce lifetime cardiovascular disease risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1154
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors Associated with Age-Related Declines in Cardiorespiratory Fitness from Early Adulthood Through Midlife: CARDIA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this