Physical Activity and Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease(CVD) and Cancer

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) and some cancers, there are no estimates of lifetime risk of these non-communicable diseases according to PA levels. We aimed to estimate the lifetime risk of CVD and cancers according to PA levels. METHODS: We followed 5,807 men and 7,252 women in the U.S. age 45–64 initially free of CVD and cancer from 1987 through 2012, and used a life table approach to estimate lifetime risks of CVD (coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke) and total cancer according to PA levels: poor (0 minutes/week of MVPA), intermediate (1–74 minutes/week of VPA or 1–149 minutes/week of MVPA) or recommended (≥75 minutes/week of VPA or ≥150 minutes/week of MVPA). RESULTS: During the 246,886 person-years of follow-up, we documented 4,065 CVD and 3,509 cancer events, and 2,062 non-CVD and 2,326 noncancer deaths. In men, the lifetime risks of CVD from 45 through 85 years were 52.7% (95% confidence interval, 49.4–55.5) for poor PA and 45.7% (42.7–48.3) for recommended PA. In women, the respective lifetime risks of CVD were 42.4% (39.5–44.9) and 30.5% (27.5–33.1). Lifetime risks of total cancer in men were 40.1% (36.9–42.7) for poor PA and 42.6% (39.7–45.2) for recommended activity; in women, 31.4% (28.7–33.8) and 30.4% (27.7–32.9), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with a poor PA level, WHO recommended PA was associated with lower lifetime risk of CVD, but not total cancer, in both men and women.

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