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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990 Dec;22(6):742-50.

Caloric expenditure, life status, and disease in former male athletes and non-athletes.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Michigan State University, School of HCP, East Lansing 48824.


This study examined the association between aerobic, caloric exercise expenditure and life status (living vs deceased) as well as the prevalence rates of hypertension (HBP) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in former male athletes (ATH) and non-athletes (N-ATH). The initial survey for this study was done in 1952. Follow-up surveys of respondents were done in 1960, 1968, 1976, and 1984. The present study used all subjects who responded fully to activity and health questions in 1976 and who were reported as either dead or alive (not lost to follow-up) in 1984. A total of 348 subjects (185 ATH, 163 N-ATH) were assessed and caloric expenditure groups were established by kilocalories (kcal) of aerobic exercise per week; 0 kcal (group 1), 1-399 kcal (group 2), 400-899 kcal (group 3), 900-1499 kcal (group 4), 1500-2499 kcal (group 5), and 2500+ kcal (group 6). Only activity considered to be aerobic was used in the establishment of the aerobic categories. Death rate was highest in groups 1 and 2. Subjects in group 1 tended to be the oldest. Year of birth (age) (P less than 0.001) and CVD (P less than 0.05) as reported in 1976 were significantly related to mortality between 1976 and 1984. College athletic status and 1976 exercise level were not significantly related to mortality. Prevalence of CVD and HBP was highest in groups 1 and 6, suggesting a moderate amount of aerobic activity as optimal.

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