We speculated that the rise in atmospheric oxygen from 2 billion years ago was so integral for the evolution of biocomplexity that it must also associate strongly with complex diseases. As a remote test of this idea, we hypothesized that lines contrasting for disease and health would emerge from artificial selection for low and high aerobic treadmill running capacity. Eleven generations of selection in rats produced lines that differed by 347% in running capacity. The low line demonstrated health risk factors including higher visceral adiposity, blood pressure, insulin, and triglycerides. The high line was superior for VO2max, economy of running, heart function, and nitric oxide-induced vascular dilation.