A descriptive ranking of blood pressure and physical fitness of Latin–American ethnic schoolchildren

Cristian Álvarez, Eduardo L. Cadore, Anelise Reis Gaya, Júlio Brugnara Mello, Cézane Priscila Reuter, Pedro Delgado-Floody, Jeison A. Ramos Sepúlveda, Hugo Alejandro Carrillo, Dirina González Devia, Alex Véliz Burgos, Jaime Vásquez-Gómez, Robinson Ramírez-Vélez, Alicia María Alonso-Martínez, Mikel Izquierdo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is a general lack of information about how insufficient physical activity impacts blood pressure and physical fitness in Latin-American ethnic minorities. Aims: To describe the interactions between insufficient physical activity, blood pressure, and physical fitness outcomes in Latin-American schoolchildren of different ethnicity. Methods: This was a prospective, international, multi-center, and cross-sectional study of three Latin-American countries involving schoolchildren from seven ethnic groups of Colombia (Tikuna, Nasa, Embera), Brazil (African, Mulato), and Chile (Mapuche), and also European schoolchildren from Brazil and Chile. Data were categorized based on whether participants were physically active (PA) or insufficient physical activity (iPA) using the WHO physical activity recommendations. The main outcomes were systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP), and mean arterial (MAP) blood pressure, and scores for physical and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF, by estimated (Formula presented.) O2max), handgrip muscle strength (HGS), and standing long jump (SLJ). Secondary outcomes were anthropometric measures (weight, height, body mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC], waist-to-height ratio), and body fat percentage (BF%, limited data by country). Primary and secondary outcomes were ranked. Results: For both PA and iPA categories, significant interactions between ethnic groups were found concerning SBP/DBP (F (37.7), ES 0.08; F (51.5), ES 0.08), (Formula presented.) O2max (F (37.7), ES 0.08; F (51.5), ES 0.08), HGS (F (33.8), ES 0.07; F (5.03), ES 0.04), and SLJ (F (64.3), ES 0.14; F (64.3), 0.14). In the iPA category, Mapuche schoolchildren were classified 1st (119.5; 81.5) with highest SBP/DBP and highest MAP (94.6 mmHg); Embera schoolchildren were classified 1st with lowest (Formula presented.) O2max (33.7 mL/kg/min); and European schoolchildren were classified 1st (19.9 kg) with lowest HGS and SLJ (121.4 m) physical fitness. Conclusions: Under conditions of insufficient physical activity conditions, Mapuche schoolchildren had the most detrimental blood pressure, whereas Embera, Tikuna, and European schoolchildren had the lowest levels of physical fitness. These results serve to highlight the need for the early and appropriate promotion of physical activity based on ethnic differences in Latin-American schools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnicity and Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Ethnicity
  • Physical fitness
  • Schoolchildren

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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