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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Dec;13(6):909-15.

Adiposity and physical activity as predictors of cardiovascular mortality.

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Department of Public Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7489 Trondheim, Norway.



To investigate whether cardiovascular mortality related to obesity could be modified by physical activity.


Mortality follow-up.


Population study.


Participants in a health survey: 34 868 women and 32 872 men free from known cardiovascular disease or diabetes at baseline.


Total cardiovascular mortality.


During 16 years of follow-up, 3026 women and 3526 men had died from cardiovascular causes. In middle age, obesity [body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher] was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular death, but the association weakened with age. After 70, there was no association between BMI and cardiovascular death. At all ages, a lower level of physical activity was associated with a higher cardiovascular mortality. In women with high physical activity, indicated by at least 30 min of moderate to vigorous activity more than once a week, cardiovascular mortality was only slightly higher in the obese compared to lean women (adjusted relative risk, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-2.00). In men with high physical activity, cardiovascular mortality was, however, significantly higher among the obese (relative risk, 1.62; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-2.40). In both genders cardiovascular mortality was substantially higher in obese people who reported no regular physical activity compared to obese people with a high level of physical activity.


In obese women, being highly active may, to a large extent, compensate for the risk-increasing effect of being obese, whereas in obese men who engage in a high level of physical activity, the risk of cardiovascular death may be higher than in lean and equally active men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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