Cycling and sports, but not walking, are associated with 10-year cardiovascular disease incidence: The MORGEN Study

Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
European journal of cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation: official journal of the European Society of Cardiology, Working Groups on Epidemiology & Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.69). 02/2011; 18(1):41-7. DOI: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e32833bfc87
Source: PubMed


Physical activity is inversely related to cardiovascular diseases. However, the type of activities that contribute most to these beneficial effects remain unclear. For this reason, we investigated self-reported leisure time physical activities in relation to fatal/nonfatal cardiovascular disease incidence.
The Dutch Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases Study, carried out between 1993 and 1997, is a prospective cohort study of over 23000 men and women aged 20–65 years from the general Dutch population.
From 1994 till 1997 physical activity was assessed with a questionnaire in 7451 men and 8991 women who were followed for an average of 9.8 years. Cox proportional hazards models were used adjusting for age, sex, other physical activities, smoking, alcohol consumption, and educational level.
Almost the entire study population (97%) was engaged in walking, about 75% in regular cycling, and about half the population in sports or gardening. Cycling [hazard ratio (HR): 0.82, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.71–0.95] and sports (HR: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.64–0.87) were both inversely related to cardiovascular disease incidence, whereas walking and gardening were not. For sports (P < 0.001), but not for cycling (P = 0.06), we found a dose - response relationship with respect to cardiovascular disease incidence. Engaging in both cycling and sports resulted in an even greater risk reduction (HR: 0.64, 95% CI: 0.52–0.77).
In this relatively active population, types of activities of at least moderate intensity, such as cycling and sports were associated with lower CVD incidence, whereas activities of lower intensity, such as walking and gardening, were not.

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Available from: Wanda Wendel-Vos, Dec 24, 2013
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    • "For limitations of this research, walking and bicycling were not distinguished, which may induce confoundation in the health effect, because it is reported that health effects of walking and bicycling are not identical for their different intensities [28]. Traditional bicycling and electric bicycling were measured together as well. "
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    • "Physical activity was assessed by a validated questionnaire in respondents recruited between 1994 and 1997. For this subset, we calculated whether respondents practised cycling and sports with a metabolic equivalent score ≥4 (yes/no) [25]. Educational level was classified into three categories: low (intermediate secondary education or less), intermediate (intermediate vocational or higher secondary education) or high (higher vocational or university education). "
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