Occupational physical activity and cardiovascular disease in the United States

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Abstract

Background: Emerging evidence, predominately from European and Asian countries, describes opposing effects of occupational physical activity (OPA) and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) on cardiovascular health. This analysis examined cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevalence associated with OPA and LTPA. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis of 2015 National Health Interview Survey data (n=16 974) employed logistic regression to estimate odds (OR) of self-reported CVD (coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke or angina) with self-reported total occupational activity (TOA), occupational exertion (OE), occupational standing and walking (OSW) and LTPA. OPA was measured using two questions: â 'How often does your job involve⋯' (1) 'repeated lifting, pushing, pulling or bending?' (OE) and (2) 'standing or walking around?' (OSW) with responses on a 5-item Likert scale (0=never, 4=always). TOA was categorised similarly after summing OE and OSW scores. LTPA was defined as 0, 1-149 or ≥150 min/week of moderate-to-vigorous activity. All models adjusted for common socioeconomic variables and additional analyses were stratified by sex, smoking status and LTPA. Results: Odds for CVD were higher when 'always' performing TOA (OR 1.99 95% CI 1.12 to 3.53), OE (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.45 to 3.19) or OSW (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.07 to 3.17) compared with 'never'. When restricting to never-smokers, odds for CVD were higher when 'always' performing TOA (OR 3.00, 95% CI 1.38 to 6.51) and OE (OR 3.00, 95% CI 1.80 to 5.02) versus 'never'. Conclusion Associations of high OPA with CVD were equally apparent across sexes, stronger in lower LTPA levels and stronger in never-smokers. While uncontrolled confounding is still possible, even after extensive adjustment, the seemingly paradoxical adverse associations with OPA and CVD should be investigated further.

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Quinn, T. D., Yorio, P. L., Smith, P. M., Seo, Y., Whitfield, G. P., & Barone Gibbs, B. (2021). Occupational physical activity and cardiovascular disease in the United States. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 78(10), 724–730. https://doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2020-106948

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