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      Physical Activity and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease—A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies


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          In order to update and improve available evidence on associations of physical activity (PA) with cardiovascular disease (CVD) by applying meta-analytic random effects modeling to data from prospective cohort studies, using high quality criteria of study selection, we searched the PubMed database from January 1980 to December 2010 for prospective cohort studies of PA and incident CVD, distinguishing occupational PA and leisure time PA, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, respectively. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed English papers with original data, studies with large sample size (n ≥ 1,000) and substantial follow-up (≥5 years), available data on major confounders and on estimates of relative risk (RR) or hazard ratio (HR), with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We included 21 prospective studies in the overall analysis, with a sample size of more than 650,000 adults who were initially free from CVD, and with some 20,000 incident cases documented during follow-up. Among men, RR of overall CVD in the group with the high level of leisure time PA was 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.82, p < 0.001), compared to the reference group with low leisure time PA, with obvious dose-response relationship. A similar effect was observed among women (RR = 0.73, 95% CI 0.68–0.78, p < 0.001). A strong protective effect of occupational PA was observed for moderate level in both men (RR = 0.89, 95% CI 0.82–0.97, p = 0.008) and women (RR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.67–1.03, p = 0.089). No publication bias was observed. Our findings suggest that high level of leisure time PA and moderate level of occupational PA have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health by reducing the overall risk of incident coronary heart disease and stroke among men and women by 20 to 30 percent and 10 to 20 percent, respectively. This evidence from high quality studies supports efforts of primary and secondary prevention of CVD in economically advanced as well as in rapidly developing countries.

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          Most cited references38

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          Global burden of cardiovascular diseases: part I: general considerations, the epidemiologic transition, risk factors, and impact of urbanization.

          This two-part article provides an overview of the global burden of atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease. Part I initially discusses the epidemiologic transition which has resulted in a decrease in deaths in childhood due to infections, with a concomitant increase in cardiovascular and other chronic diseases; and then provides estimates of the burden of cardiovascular (CV) diseases with specific focus on the developing countries. Next, we summarize key information on risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and indicate that their importance may have been underestimated. Then, we describe overarching factors influencing variations in CVD by ethnicity and region and the influence of urbanization. Part II of this article describes the burden of CV disease by specific region or ethnic group, the risk factors of importance, and possible strategies for prevention.
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            Dose response between physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis.

            No reviews have quantified the specific amounts of physical activity required for lower risks of coronary heart disease when assessing the dose-response relation. Instead, previous reviews have used qualitative estimates such as low, moderate, and high physical activity. We performed an aggregate data meta-analysis of epidemiological studies investigating physical activity and primary prevention of CHD. We included prospective cohort studies published in English since 1995. After reviewing 3194 abstracts, we included 33 studies. We used random-effects generalized least squares spline models for trend estimation to derive pooled dose-response estimates. Among the 33 studies, 9 allowed quantitative estimates of leisure-time physical activity. Individuals who engaged in the equivalent of 150 min/wk of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity (minimum amount, 2008 U.S. federal guidelines) had a 14% lower coronary heart disease risk (relative risk, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 0.96) compared with those reporting no leisure-time physical activity. Those engaging in the equivalent of 300 min/wk of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity (2008 U.S. federal guidelines for additional benefits) had a 20% (relative risk, 0.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.74 to 0.88) lower risk. At higher levels of physical activity, relative risks were modestly lower. People who were physically active at levels lower than the minimum recommended amount also had significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease. There was a significant interaction by sex (P=0.03); the association was stronger among women than men. These findings provide quantitative data supporting US physical activity guidelines that stipulate that "some physical activity is better than none" and "additional benefits occur with more physical activity."
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              Physical activity and reduced risk of cardiovascular events: potential mediating mechanisms.

              Higher levels of physical activity are associated with fewer cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Although the precise mechanisms underlying this inverse association are unclear, differences in several cardiovascular risk factors may mediate this effect. In a prospective study of 27,055 apparently healthy women, we measured baseline levels of hemoglobin A1c, traditional lipids (total, low-density lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), novel lipids [lipoprotein(a) and apolipoprotein A1 and B-100], creatinine, homocysteine, and inflammatory/hemostatic biomarkers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1) and used women's self-reported physical activity, weight, height, hypertension, and diabetes. Mean follow-up was 10.9+/-1.6 years, and 979 incident CVD events occurred. The risk of CVD decreased linearly with higher levels of activity (P for linear trend or = 1500 kcal/wk of 27%, 32%, and 41%, respectively. Differences in known risk factors explained a large proportion (59.0%) of the observed inverse association. When sets of risk factors were examined, inflammatory/hemostatic biomarkers made the largest contribution to lower risk (32.6%), followed by blood pressure (27.1%). Novel lipids contributed less to CVD risk reduction compared with traditional lipids (15.5% and 19.1%, respectively). Smaller contributions were attributed to body mass index (10.1%) and hemoglobin A1c/diabetes (8.9%), whereas homocysteine and creatinine had negligible effects (< 1%). The inverse association between physical activity and CVD risk is mediated in substantial part by known risk factors, particularly inflammatory/hemostatic factors and blood pressure.

                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                26 January 2012
                February 2012
                : 9
                : 2
                : 391-407
                [1 ]Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Mannheim Medical Faculty, Heidelberg University, Ludolf-Krehl Strasse 7-11, 68167 Mannheim, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Medical Sociology, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany; Email: siegrist@ 123456uni-duesseldorf.de
                [3 ]Institute of Occupational and Social Medicine, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; Email: lijian1974@ 123456hotmail.com ; Tel.: +49-621-383-6987; Fax: +49-621-383-9920.
                © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                : 14 December 2011
                : 17 January 2012
                : 18 January 2012

                Public health
                cardiovascular disease,coronary heart disease,physical activity,stroke,meta-analysis,epidemiological cohort


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