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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Feb;13(1):51-9.

Different forms of physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors among 24-64-year-old men and women in Finland.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and General Practice, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland. noel.barengo@uku.fi



There is convincing evidence that regular physical activity reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) among men. However, only a few studies have been conducted among women. Most previous studies have focused on the effects of leisure-time physical activity on cardiovascular risk factors, without considering the impact of occupational or commuting physical activity.


Four independent cross-sectional surveys were carried out at 5-year intervals within the framework of the FINMONICA studies in 1982, 1987, 1992 and 1997.


An independent random sample was drawn from the national population register for each survey. The samples were stratified by sex and 10-year age categories according to the WHO MONICA protocol. The survey consisted of a self-administered questionnaire.


Not only leisure-time physical activity, but also commuting activity was directly associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and was inversely related to body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference among both men and women. High occupational physical activity was related to high HDL-cholesterol levels and high total serum cholesterol levels in both sexes and to lower BMI, waist circumference and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in men. High leisure-time physical activity was associated with reduced DBP among both men and women, whereas high occupational physical activity was related to lower DBP only among men.


Not only leisure-time physical activity but also commuting activity is associated with reduced levels of some cardiovascular risk factors. All forms of physical activity should be promoted to reduce CVD in the population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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