Background: We aimed to investigate associations between combinations of body mass index (BMI)-categories, levels of physical activity and long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.
Method and results: At age 50 years, cardiovascular risk factors were assessed in 2196 participating men of the ULSAM-study. This investigation was repeated at age 60, 70, 77 and 82 years. Being physically active (PA) was defined as three hours of recreational or hard physical training per week. The men were categorized according to BMI/PA-status, as PA/normal weight (n = 593 at baseline), non-PA/normal weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2, n = 580), PA/overweight (n = 418), non-PA/overweight (BMI 25-30 kg/m2, n = 462), PA/obese (n = 62), non-PA/obese (BMI >30 kg/m2, n = 81). We used updated data on BMI and physical activity obtained at all examinations. During follow-up (median 30 years) 850 individuals suffered a cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke or heart failure). Using updated data on BMI/PA categories, an increased risk for cardiovascular disease was seen with increasing BMI, but a high physical activity was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease within each BMI category: non-PA/normal weight (hazard ratio (HR) 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-1.66), PA/overweight (HR 1.52, 95% CI 1.20-1.94), non-PA/overweight (HR 1.65, 95% CI 1.31-2.07) PA/obese (HR 2.05, 95% CI 1.44-2.92) and non-PA/obese (HR 2.39, 95% CI 1.74-3.29), using PA/normal weight men as referent.
Conclusions: Although physical activity was beneficial at all levels of BMI regarding the risk of future cardiovascular disease, there was still a substantial increased risk associated with being overweight or obese during 30 years of follow-up.
2016. Vol. 23, no 4, 359-365 p.