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Association of white blood cell subfraction concentration with fitness and fatness
  1. N M Johannsen1,
  2. E L Priest2,
  3. V D Dixit3,
  4. C P Earnest1,
  5. S N Blair4,
  6. T S Church1
  1. 1Department of Preventative Medicine, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, USA
  2. 2Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement, Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, Texas, USA
  3. 3Department of Neuroendocrine Immunology, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, USA
  4. 4Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
  1. Correspondence to Timothy S Church, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA; Tim.Church{at}


Objective To examine the association between fitness, BMI, and neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, basophil, and eosinophil concentrations in apparently healthy, non-smoking men.

Design Cross-sectional study of 452 men from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study examining the resting concentration of white blood cell subfractions across fitness (maximal METs during a treadmill exercise test) and fatness (BMI) categories after adjusting for age.

Results Fitness was inversely associated with all WBC subfraction concentrations. After further adjustment for BMI, only total WBC, neutrophil, and basophil concentrations remained significantly associated with fitness. BMI was directly associated with total WBC, neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, and basophil concentrations and, when fitness was added to the model, only monocytes lost significance.

Conclusion Fitness (inversely) and fatness (directly) are associated with WBC subfraction populations.

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  • Funding This study was supported in part by US Public Health Service research grant AG06945 from the National Institute on Aging and the Simmons Foundation.

  • Competing interests None.