Recreational Physical Activity as an Independent Predictor of Multivariable Cardiovascular Disease Risk
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The role of physical activity in preventing CVD has been highlighted by Professor Jerry Morris in the 1950’s. We report outcome of a 15-year prospective study with the aim to identify whether physical activity showed cardiovascular benefit independent of common risk factors and of central obesity. Baseline data of 8662 subjects, with no previous history of heart disease, diabetes or stroke, were obtained from an age- and gender- stratified sample of adults in Australian capital cities and were linked with the National Death Index to determine the causes of death of 610 subjects who had died to 31 December 2004. The study consisted of 4175 males (age 42.3±13.1 years) and 4487 females (age 42.8±13.2 years). Fasting serum lipid levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and smoking habits at baseline were recorded. The Framingham Risk Scores of 15-year mortality due to CHD and CVD were calculated using established equations. Subjects were also asked if they engaged in vigorous exercise, less vigorous exercise or walk for recreation and exercise in the past 2 weeks. Subjects in the high recreational physical activity category were 0.16 (0.06–0.43; p<0.001) and 0.12 (0.03–0.48; p = 0.003) times as likely as subjects in the low category for CVD and CHD mortality respectively. After adjusting for both the Framingham Risk Score and central obesity (Waist circumference to Hip circumference Ratio), those in the high recreational physical activity group were 0.35 (0.13–0.98) times less likely compared to the low category for CVD mortality. Recreational physical activity independently predicted reduced cardiovascular mortality over fifteen years. A public health focus on increased physical activity and preventing obesity is required to reduce the risk of CVD and CHD.
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