Medical School

Postgraduate research profiles


Denise Demmer


Start date

Mar 2012

Submission date

Jan 2018

Denise Demmer


The relationships between muscle strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, adiposity and cardio-metabolic risk factors: A longitudinal study from childhood to early adulthood


It has been hypothesized that childhood is a critical period in the development of health across the life span and that important environmental and genetic interactions at each stage of an individual’s development may have a profound impact on adult health. It has been suggested that cardiovascular risk may start early in life and its presence in childhood is associated with adverse cardiovascular health outcomes in later adulthood. This project proposes to study lifestyle changes in muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness in relation to adiposity and cardio-metabolic risk factors in childhood through to early adulthood, specifically to understand how children’s fitness levels are related to adult cardio-metabolic disease development. To date, inconclusive evidence exists in determining whether changes in muscular strength during childhood and adolescence are associated with cardio-metabolic changes in adulthood and whether skeletal muscle properties may be important in determining the associations between childhood fitness and cardio-metabolic risk in later life.

Why my research is important

There are a number of cross-sectional studies that have examined the association between muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness and the cardio-metabolic risk factors in children and adolescents. This study addresses the need for a longitudinal study design to extend existing knowledge and to examine the directional relationship and interaction pathways between the independent and joint associations of muscular strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and adiposity in late childhood and adolescence in relation to cardio-metabolic risk in early adulthood using the Raine Study cohort. These longitudinal relationships in relation to cardiovascular risk in adulthood will potentially provide directions for policy change and public health intervention programs aimed at children and adolescents and allow for the early identification of risk for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in later adulthood.