Regular physical activity and coronary risk factors in Japanese men.
Hsieh SD. Yoshinaga H. Muto T. Sakurai Y.
Medical Center of Health Science, Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.
BACKGROUND: Physical activity decreases the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but its effects on risk factors require further exploration. METHODS AND RESULTS: The study included 3331 adult Japanese men in whom health benefits, especially CHD risk factors, were compared among those who were sedentary and those who were engaged in continuous physical activity of 30 minutes or more per day for 1, 2 and > or =3 days per week. Significantly higher HDL cholesterol values; lower triceps, scapula, and iliac subcutaneous fat thickness; and lower smoking rates were noted in all physically active groups compared with the sedentary group, whereas body mass index did not differ significantly. Waist-to-height ratios and the prevalence of fatty liver were significantly lower in the groups who exercised 2 or > or =3 days per week than in the sedentary group. The lowest triglyceride values were noted in the group who exercised > or =3 days per week. Multiple regression analysis revealed both the frequency of physical activity and smoking status to be independent positive and negative factors, respectively, for the HDL cholesterol value. The sum of the risk factor scores for hypertension, abnormal glucose tolerance, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, and low HDL cholesterol level (one point for each if present) was highest in the sedentary group (1.38, 1.19, 1.19, 0.99 for the sedentary group and the groups who exercised 1, 2, and > or =3 days per week). CONCLUSIONS: Those who engaged in regular physical activity > or =3 days per week appeared to have the fewest coronary risk factors. However, even those engaged in physical activity once per week had fewer CHD risk factors than sedentary individuals.