Background - Cardiorespiratory fitness is favorably associated with most modifiable coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors. Findings are limited, however, by few data for women, persons with existing CHD, and low-risk populations. In the present study, we described cross-sectional associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and CHD risk factors in a large cohort of middle-aged men and women, of whom the majority were LDS Church members (Mormons), with and without existing CHD. Methods and Results - Comprehensive health examinations were performed on 3232 men (age 45.9±10.8 years) and 1128 women (age 43.8±12.8 years) between 1975 and 1997. Maximal treadmill exercise testing was used to categorize those with (12% of the men and 10% of the women) and those without CHD into age- and sex-specific cardiorespiratory fitness quintiles. After adjustments for age, body fat, smoking status, and family history of CHD, favorable associations were observed between fitness and most CHD risk factors among men and women, regardless of CHD status. Conclusions - These data indicate that enhanced levels of cardiorespiratory fitness may confer resistance to elevations in CHD risk factors even in a low-risk sample of middle-aged men and women. Furthermore, these findings reinforce current public health recommendations that advocate increased national levels of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness for primary and secondary CHD prevention.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Risk factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)