The purpose of this study was to examine the associations of cardiorespiratory fitness, general adiposity, and central adiposity with incident intermediate hyperglycemia (IH) in women. We conducted a prospective cohort study of 1534 women aged 20–79 years old who had an annual health check-up with no history of major chronic diseases. At baseline, fitness was assessed by a Balke graded exercise test, and the estimated metabolic equivalents were used to create quartile groups. Women were also grouped based on their body mass index (<25 kg/m2, 25–29.9 kg/m2, and ≥ 30 kg/m2) and waist-to-height ratio (≥0.50 or < 0.50). Cox proportional hazards models were conducted to assess the association of fitness and fatness variables with incident IH defined as fasting glucose of 5.6–6.9 mmol/L. Overall, 18.1% (n = 277) of the women developed IH during an average follow-up of 5.06 years. Fitness, body mass index, and waist-to-height ratio at baseline were the independent predictors of the IH incidence in separate age-adjusted models; yet when all three variables were included in the same model along with confounding variables, only fitness remained significant and demonstrated a clear inverse association with incident IH (P-for-trend <0.001). Health promotion efforts should focus on improving fitness for the prevention of IH in women.
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