Recent studies investigated the association of cardiorespiratory fitness with white matter microstructure in children, yet little work has explored to what extent other components of physical fitness (i.e., muscular or motor fitness) are associated with white matter microstructure. Indeed, this association has not been previously explored in children with overweight/obesity who present a different white matter development. Therefore, we aimed to examine associations between physical fitness components and white matter microstructure in children with overweight/obesity. In total, 104 (10.04 ± 1.15 years old; 43 girls) children were included in this cross-sectional study. Physical fitness was assessed using the ALPHA-fitness test battery. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity were derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). No association was found between physical fitness and global DTI metrics (all P > 0.082). Within individual tracts, all associations became non-significant when analyses were adjusted for multiple comparisons. Using the voxel-wise approach, we identified a small cluster in the left lateral frontal lobe where children with greater upper-body muscular fitness showed higher FA (PFWE-corrected = 0.042). Although our results cannot conclude physical fitness is related to white matter microstructure in children with overweight/obesity; those findings indicate that the association of muscular fitness with white matter microstructure might be more focal on frontal areas of the brain, as opposed to global differences.,
Scientific Reports

Rodriguez-Ayllon, M. (M.), Esteban-Cornejo, I. (I.), Verdejo-Román, J. (J.), Muetzel, R.L, Mora-Gonzalez, J. (J.), Cadenas-Sanchez, C. (C.), … Ortega, F.B. (F. B.). (2020). Physical fitness and white matter microstructure in children with overweight or obesity: the ActiveBrains project. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-67996-2