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Effects of Leisure Time, Work Activity on CV Events, Mortality Explored

TUESDAY, April 13, 2021 -- Higher leisure-time physical activity is associated with reduced major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and all-cause mortality risk, while higher occupational physical activity is associated with increased risks, independent of each other, according to a study published online April 8 in the European Heart Journal.

Andreas Holtermann, Ph.D., from the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues assessed the relationship between leisure-time physical activity and occupational physical activity with the risk for MACE and all-cause mortality. The analysis included 104,046 women and men (aged 20 to 100 years) participating in the Copenhagen General Population Study (baseline measurements: 2003 to 2014; median 10-year follow-up).

The researchers found that compared with low leisure-time physical activity, when adjusting for lifestyle, health, living conditions, and socioeconomic factors, the hazard ratios and 95 percent confidence intervals for MACE were 0.86 (0.78 to 0.96) for moderate, 0.77 (0.69 to 0.86) for high, and 0.85 (0.73 to 0.98) for very high activity. For higher occupational physical activity, the corresponding hazard ratios were 1.04 (0.95 to 1.14), 1.15 (1.04 to 1.28), and 1.35 (1.14 to 1.59). For all-cause mortality, hazard ratios for higher leisure-time physical activity were 0.74 (0.68 to 0.81), 0.59 (0.54 to 0.64), and 0.60 (0.52 to 0.69). Corresponding hazard ratios for higher occupational physical activity were 1.06 (0.96 to 1.16), 1.13 (1.01 to 1.27), and 1.27 (1.05 to 1.54), respectively. Within strata for lifestyle, health, living conditions, and socioeconomic factors, similar results were found. The two domains of physical activity did not interact on the risk for MACE or all-cause mortality.

"Many people with manual jobs believe they get fit and healthy by their physical activity at work and therefore can relax when they get home," Holtermann said in a statement. "Unfortunately, our results suggest that this is not the case. And while these workers could benefit from leisure physical activity, after walking 10,000 steps while cleaning or standing seven hours in a production line, people tend to feel tired so that's a barrier."

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