Increased Physical Activity in High Risk Groups Reduces Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality
Greater physical activity has been quite comprehensively demonstrated to correlate with reduced mortality in later life. The epidemiological study noted here shows that this relationship also holds up in people who have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, due to factors such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension. The researchers examined outcomes in patients who improved their level of physical activity between two time points, finding a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease in comparison to those who did not improve. This is consistent with other studies of the role of physical activity in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
The study included 88,320 individuals from the LifeLines Cohort Study. Participants underwent a physical examination and completed questionnaires about their medical history and lifestyle including exercise. The questionnaires were repeated after approximately four years. Study participants were divided into five groups according to activity levels at baseline and four years: large reduction, moderate reduction, no change, moderate improvement, and large improvement. Participants were followed-up for a median of seven years after the first assessment for the occurrence of cardiovascular disease or death.high cholesterol
A total of 18,502 (21%) individuals had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or diabetes at the start of the study. The average age of this group was 55 years. After adjusting for age, sex, and baseline physical activity, the researchers found that those with a moderate to large improvement in physical activity were around 30% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or die during follow-up compared to those who did not change their activity level.
The remaining 69,808 (79%) participants did not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes at the start of the study. The average age of this group was 43 years. After adjusting for age, sex, and baseline physical activity, the researchers found that those with large reductions in physical activity had a 40% higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death compared to those who did not change their activity level.