OBJECTIVE:Several studies have shown that low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a significant independent risk factor for future cardiometabolic disease in adult life. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between CRF and health status in children and adolescents in Bogotá, Colombia.METHODS:A cross-sectional study was conducted in 921 children and adolescents aged 9-17 years living in the metropolitan area of the District of Bogotá, Colombia (2,480m asl). CRF was assessed with the 20m shuttle run test (Course-Navette) according to ALPHA-FITNESS and FITNESSGRAM standards. Blood pressure, waist circumference, hip circumference, body composition (body fat percentage, fat body mass, and fat-free mass by bioimpedance), skin fold calipers, body mass index, and sexual maturity (Tanner) were used as indicators of physical health.RESULTS:After adjusting for sex, age, and sexual maturity, significant inverse relationships were seen between CRF and body mass index (r=-0.107), body fat percentage (r=-0.197), fat body mass (r=-0.159), skin fold (r=-0.246), and waist circumference (r=-0.169); P<.001. Schoolchildren with low CRF levels showed OR 6.06 (95% CI 3.98-9.24) increase in body fat by bioimpedance; OR 4.04 (95% CI 1.83-9.11) risk of overweight/obese by body mass index and OR 2.47 (95% CI 1.14-5.37) abdominal obesity due to increased waist circumference.CONCLUSION:Approximately two thirds of participants had a CRF level suggesting future cardiovascular disease. Early identification of children and adolescents with low CRF levels will allow for implementing interventions to prevent cardiometabolic disease in adulthood.