Bethesda, Md. (Aug. 8, 2012)Adolescence is an important time not only for growing but for acquiring healthy habits that will last a lifetime, such as choosing foods rich in vitamins and minerals, and adopting a regular exercise regimen. Unfortunately, several studies have shown that adolescents' intake of important nutrients, as well as their performance on standard physical fitness tests, has fallen in recent years. Because nutrition and fitness are intertwinedfor example, iron forms part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to muscles, and antioxidants such as vitamin C aid in rebuilding damage after intense trainingthese two findings could be related. In a new study, researchers have found that adolescents' blood levels of various micronutrients are correlated with how well they performed in certain physical fitness tests. Though these results don't prove causality, they suggest a new relationship between different measures of adolescent health.
The article is entitled "Iron and Vitamin Status Biomarkers and its Association with Physical Fitness in Adolescents. The HELENA Study." and is online at http://bit.ly/Q2j6lJ. It appears in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, a publication of the American Physiological Society.
Researcher Luis Gracia-Marco of the University of Zaragoza, Spain and his colleagues relied on data from a larger, long-term research project known as the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescents Cross-Sectional Study, or HELENA-CSS. Part of this study, which involved thousands of volunteers between the ages of 12.5 and 17.5 in cities scattered across Europe, gathered nutrition and physical fitness data. Blood samples taken in one third of the volunteers (n=1089) were tested for a variety of micronutrients, including hemoglobin, indicative of iron intake, soluble transferrin receptor, serum ferritin, re
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American Physiological Society