Article

Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Women

Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
American journal of epidemiology (Impact Factor: 4.98). 03/2012; 175(5):414-22. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwr330
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a potential indicator of cellular aging; however, its relation to physical activity and sedentary behavior is unclear. The authors examined cross-sectionally associations among activity, sedentary behavior, and LTL among 7,813 women aged 43-70 years in the Nurses' Health Study. Participants self-reported activity by questionnaire in 1988 and 1992 and sedentary behavior in 1992. Telomere length in peripheral blood leukocytes, collected in 1989-1990, was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The least-squares mean telomere length (z-score) was calculated after adjustment for age and other potential confounders. For total activity, moderately or highly active women had a 0.07-standard deviation (SD) increase in LTL (2-sided P(trend) = 0.02) compared with those least active. Greater moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity was also associated with increased LTL (SD = 0.11 for 2-4 vs. <1 hour/week and 0.04 for ≥7 vs. <1 hour/week; 2-sided P(trend) = 0.02). Specifically, calisthenics or aerobics was associated with increased LTL (SD = 0.10 for ≥2.5 vs. 0 hours/week; 2-sided P(trend) = 0.04). Associations remained after adjustment for body mass index. Other specific activities and sitting were unassociated with LTL. Although associations were modest, these findings suggest that even moderate amounts of activity may be associated with longer telomeres, warranting further investigation in large prospective studies.

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