Cross-sectional Analyses on the Relationship between Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Fitness, and Body Composition in College Athletes

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Marc Cook


Sport Science & Fitness Management

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


Chronic exercise has been shown to reduce blood pressure (BP). However, athletes have an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk because they train at elite levels that put an increased demand on the heart, which promotes higher BP and increased risk for cardiovascular changes such as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). Further, African Americans (AA) have a greater risk for developing high BP (hypertension) because of their racial/ethnic background. Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for CVD, is the most common CVD risk factor in athletes, and superimposes the risk of CV issues in AA athletes. This study was performed to investigate the relationship between BP, cardiorespiratory fitness, and body composition in male and female AA collegiate athletes with and without hypertension. In effort to identify physiologic variables related to high BP, we measured resting BP, cardio-metabolic fitness (maximal oxygen consumption: VO2 max), and body composition variables (body mass index, fat mass, fat-free mass, skeletal muscle mass, total body and extracellular water). Analyses of these factors related to athletic performance will aid in understanding the relationship between fitness, body composition, and hypertension risk in competitive athletes.

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