Open Access Open Badges Research article

Resting heart rate: its correlations and potential for screening metabolic dysfunctions in adolescents

Rômulo A Fernandes12*, Enio R Vaz Ronque23, Danielle Venturini4, Décio S Barbosa4, Danilo P Silva23, Crisieli T Cogo23, Mariana Souza Carnelossi23, Mariana B Batista23, Manuel J Coelho-e-Silva25, Luís B Sardinha6 and Edilson S Cyrino23

Author affiliations

1 Scientific Research Group Related to Physical Activity (GICRAF). Laboratory of Investigation in Exercise (LIVE). Department of Physical Education, Center of Sciences and Technology, UNESP Univ Estadual Paulista, Presidente Prudente, Brazil

2 Study and Research Group in Metabolism, Nutrition, and Exercise – GEPEMENE. State University of Londrina – UEL, Londrina, Brazil

3 Department of Physical Education, Center of Physical Education and Sport, State University of Londrina – UEL, Londrina, Brazil

4 Department of Pathology, Clinical and Toxicological Analysis. Center of Health Sciences, University Hospital, State University of Londrina – UEL, Londrina, Brazil

5 Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education. University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

6 Exercise and Health Laboratory, Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

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Citation and License

BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-48

Published: 5 April 2013



In pediatric populations, the use of resting heart rate as a health index remains unclear, mainly in epidemiological settings. The aims of this study were to analyze the impact of resting heart rate on screening dyslipidemia and high blood glucose and also to identify its significance in pediatric populations.


The sample was composed of 971 randomly selected adolescents aged 11 to 17 years (410 boys and 561 girls). Resting heart rate was measured with oscillometric devices using two types of cuffs according to the arm circumference. Biochemical parameters triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and glucose were measured. Body fatness, sleep, smoking, alcohol consumption and cardiorespiratory fitness were analyzed.


Resting heart rate was positively related to higher sleep quality (β = 0.005, p = 0.039) and negatively related to cardiorespiratory fitness (β = −0.207, p = 0.001). The receiver operating characteristic curve indicated significant potential for resting heart rate in the screening of adolescents at increased values of fasting glucose (area under curve = 0.611 ± 0.039 [0.534 – 0.688]) and triglycerides (area under curve = 0.618 ± 0.044 [0.531 – 0.705]).


High resting heart rate constitutes a significant and independent risk related to dyslipidemia and high blood glucose in pediatric populations. Sleep and cardiorespiratory fitness are two important determinants of the resting heart rate.

Heart rate; Adipose tissue; Sleep; Physical fitness; Lipid; Glucose; Adolescent