Francisco B Ortega

franciscoortegaedufit3pqFrancisco B Ortega
Date of birth: 27-05-1979
Associate Professor
E-mail: --LOGIN--beaf3c94def7300b5336e96bc481d2e0ugr[dot]es
Phone: 0034 958246651
  • Co-director of the PROFITH research Group and Head of the Research Unit of Physical Activity and Health Promotion in the Research Institute of Sport and Health (iMUDS)

Francisco B. Ortega (Fran) graduated from the Faculty of Sport Sciences at the University of Granada, Spain (1998-2002). He did 2 separate Doctoral Theses in Exercise Physiology at the University of Granada and in Medical Sciences at the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden). He was 4 years as a postdoc researcher in Sweden and USA (2008-2012). In 2012 Fran returned to the University of Granada as a Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow at the Faculty of Sport Sciences, and from 2018 to date he is Associate Professor at the University of Granada; and continues actively affiliated to the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

His main research interests are:

  • 1) Effects of exercise on physical (particularly in cardiovascular) and mental health outcomes, as well as on cognition and brain
  • 2) Assessment of physical fitness
  • 3) Objective assessment of physical activity using accelerometry
  • 4) Exercise-based interventions using mobile technology (SmartPhones), the so called m-Health approaches

Key publications

  • 1. Henriksson H, … Ortega FB. Cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, and obesity in adolescence and later chronic disability due to cardiovascular disease: a cohort study of 1 million men. Eur Heart J 2019 [Epub ahead of print]. (IF=24.9, ranked 1st in area Cardiology)
  • 2. Henriksson P, …, Ortega FB. Fitness and Body Mass Index During Adolescence and Disability Later in Life: A Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2019;170:230-239.(IF=19.4, one of the top Medical Journals)
    The previous Papers 1 & 2 followed 1 million participants over 30 years and demonstrated the relevance of fitness components and obesity as powerful risk factors for chronic and severe diseases, with special focus on type of cardiovascular diseases, leading to disability. This have major public health and economic consequences.
  • 3. Ortega FB, …, Blair SN. Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation Research, 2016 May 27;118(11):1752-70. (IF=13.9, one of the most prestigious journals in the field of Cardiology). This was an invited review to produce a comprehensive (>10.000 words) state of the art in the field of obesity, dealing also with physical fitness, and cardiovascular disease. Web of Sciences ranked it as Highly Cited Paper (99th centile most cited) with 192 citations so far.
  • 4. Ortega FB, …, Blair SN. Body mass index, the most widely used but also widely criticized index: Would a criterion standard measure of total body fat be a better predictor of cardiovascular disease mortality? Mayo Clin Proc. 2016;91(4):443-55.(IF=7.1, within the top-10 medical journal of original articles) This is probably one of my most revolutionary contributions to the field, we questioned the current definition of obesity (i.e. an excess of body fat) and in favour of a new one (an excess of body weight). we demonstrated my postulate with empirical and powerful cohort data using gold-standard methods, and provided a plausible physiological explanation for it. Mayo Clinic Proceeding awarded this paper as one of the most cited in 2018.
  • 5. Ortega FB, …, Blair SN. The intriguing metabolically healthy but obese phenotype: cardiovascular prognosis and role of fitness. Eur Heart J, 2013;34:389-97.(IF=24.9, ranked 1st in area Cardiology). This study produced a huge social interest with more than 300 associated press notes published (including major international media such as BBC and CNN). Here we demonstrated that cardiorespiratory fitness plays an important role the cardiovascular prognosis in metabolically healthy obese individuals. Web of Sciences ranked it as Highly Cited Paper (99th centile most cited) with 235 citations so far.
  • 6. Ortega FB, …, Rasmussen F. Muscular strength in male adolescents and premature death: a cohort study of one million participants. BMJ. 2012 Nov 20;345:e7279. (IF=27.6, BMJ is considered as one of the best Medical Journals). Two months after publication, this paper was acknowledged as the Most Popular BMJ’s paper, with 51,908 views. Web of Sciences ranked it as Highly Cited Paper (99th centile most cited) with 180 citations so far.
  • 7. Ortega FB, …, Sjöström M. Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: a powerful marker of health. Int J Obes (Lond), 2008;32(1):1-11.(IF=4.5, one of the top Journals in Nutrition). This was an Invited Review as part of my PhD thesis and is still today the most cited paper of our research group with >950 citations in the Web of Sciences and >2000 in Google Scholar. This paper is the Second Most cited paper in this top Journal since published (2008). Here I reviewed the power of fitness as marker of health in youth.
  • 8. Adelantado-Renau M, …, Ortega FB. Inflammatory biomarkers and brain health indicators in children with overweight and obesity: The ActiveBrains project.Brain Behav Immun. 2019;81:588-597.(IF=X) In this study we investigated the link between systemic inflammation and brain health outcomes.
  • 9. Esteban-Cornejo I, …, Ortega FB. Fitness, cortical thickness and surface area in overweight/obese children: the mediating role of body composition and relationship with intelligence. Neuroimage. 2018;S1053-8119(18)32128-1. (IF=5.8, ranked 1st in the field of Neuroimage)
  • 10. Esteban-Cornejo I, …, Ortega FB. A whole brain volumetric approach in overweight/obese children: Examining the association with different physical fitness components and academic performance. The ActiveBrains project. Neuroimage. 2017 Aug 5; 159:346-354. (IF=5.8, ranked 1st in the field of Neuroimage).

In these 2 studies we identified specific structural regions of the brain, more developed in fitter participants, and that were important for intelligence. This supports an important role of fitness in brain health.

Francisco B. Ortega en A Ciencia Cerca: Ejercicio físico, condición física, cerebro y salud image