AEROBIC FITNESS LEVEL AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH BMI AND BODY FAT PERCENTAGE AMONG MALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Introduction: The maximum oxygen uptake capacity (VO2max) is one of the best indicators of aerobic fitness. Not only that, it also helps in identifying future health risks associated with low VO2max. Aerobic fitness and body fat percentage are closely connected and related to the risk of the development of cardiovascular disease. This research aimed to evaluate the association between aerobic fitness level with body fat percentages (BFP) and body mass index (BMI). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 60 undergraduate male students at the IIUM Kuantan Campus. The Cooper’s 12-minute walk-run test was used to measure VO2max to estimate the aerobic fitness level. Results: The percentile value by Cooper Institute, the mean VO2max (ml.kg-1.min-1) of the study participants was 34.22 ± 6.98, which was in the ‘poor’ category. Meanwhile, the mean BFP (17.42 ± 5.80%) and mean BMI (22.96 ± 3.89kg/m2) were categorized as normal. There was a significant negative correlation between BMI and aerobic fitness level, VO2max (r = -0.296, p = 0.021). In addition, there was a significant negative correlation between BFP and VO2max (r=-0.470, p<0.0001). Conclusion: This study indicates that the higher the BFP, the lower the aerobic fitness. On the other hand, a higher BMI level was associated with a lower aerobic fitness level. Interventions are needed to increase awareness regarding the importance of maintaining healthy body composition and aerobic fitness levels among university students in reducing the risks for chronic diseases.