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Cardiorespiratory fitness as a mediator of the relationship between birth weight and cognition in school children

Authors Álvarez-Bueno C, Cavero-Redondo I, Díez-Fernández A, Pardo-Guijarro MJ, Sánchez-López M, Martínez-Vizcaíno V

Received 12 December 2018

Accepted for publication 21 February 2019

Published 10 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 255—262


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Celia Álvarez-Bueno,1 Iván Cavero-Redondo,1 Ana Díez-Fernández,1 Maria Jesús Pardo-Guijarro,1,2 Mairena Sánchez-López,1,3 Vicente Martínez-Vizcaíno1,4

1Health and Social Research Center, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain; 2School of Education, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain; 3School of Education, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain; 4Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Talca, Chile

Objectives: To examine differences in cognition parameters by birth weight categories and to analyze whether the relationships between birth weight and cognitive functions are mediated by cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in schoolchildren.
Methods: A cross-sectional study using a sample of 664 school children from the MOVI-Kids study. Variables: i) cognitive function measured by the Battery of General and Differential Aptitudes (BADyG); ii) birth weight, reported by parents; and iii) CRF (20-m shuttle run test). ANCOVA models were estimated to assess differences in cognitive function categories across birth weight and CRF categories. Mediation analysis was conducted with Hayes’ PROCESS macro.
Results: CRF is a full mediator of the association between birth weight with the verbal and numerical factors, and general intelligence; and is a partial mediator when logical reasoning and the spatial factor were the dependent variables. The available data suggest that, in schoolchildren, the influence of birth weight on cognitive function is mediated by CRF.
Conclusions: These findings highlight that children with lower birth weight values and lower fitness levels should be target subgroups to improve children’s cognition, in which long-life physical activity interventions at early ages are a priority.

Keywords: birth weight, fitness, academic performance, cognition, children

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