Physical activity is not only associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but there is no threshold for that association, with the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease seen for those who are most active, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Terence Dwyer of University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues.
Research has shown that there is an inverse association between self-reported physical activity and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. However, there is uncertainty about the range of this association, especially at the highest levels of physical activity. In the new study, researchers used data from 90,211 UK Biobank participants without prior cardiovascular disease who agreed to wear an accelerometer to measure their physical activity over a 7-day period in 2013 through 2015.
Participants in the lowest category of physical activity smoked more, had higher body mass index and C-reactive protein, and were most often diagnosed with hypertension. Overall, there were 3,617 cases of cardiovascular disease diagnosed in participants during an average of 5.2 years of follow-up. People in every increasing quartile of physical activity, for moderate-intensity activity, vigorous-intensity activity and total physical activity, were less likely to have cardiovascular disease. For instance, compared to those in the lowest quartile, those in the second quartile of moderate-intensity exercise were 71% as likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (95% CI 0.65-0.77), those in the third quartile were 59% as likely (95% CI 0.54-0.65) and those in the highest quartile were 46% as likely (95% CI 0.41-0.51). While potential confounders were taken into consideration, the possibility of unknown confounders or reverse causality cannot be completely ruled out in the current study.
Excerpted from Science Daily