Coronary artery disease risk factors & their association with physical activity in older athletes.J Cardiovasc Risk 2002; 9(6):383-92JC
To evaluate the effects of present-day physical activity on selected coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors of older former athletes and to compare these selected risk factors with age-matched older non-athletes.
The selected CAD risk factors were compared among the active older athletes (n= 52; 45.9 +/- 4.75 years), sedentary older athletes (n= 54; 47.2 +/- 4.67 years), and sedentary older non-athletes (n = 56; 46.0 +/- 5.26 years) of Calcutta and surroundings. CAD risk factors including anthropometric obesity parameters, blood lipids and blood pressure were measured. The present-day total physical activity of each individual was assessed by a questionnaire and estimated through the sum of energy expended during habitual, professional, recreational and conditioning physical activities, and sleeping time. The total physical activity was expressed as energy expended in mega joules per kilogram of body weight per week (MJ.kg. week). Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) was assessed by maximal treadmill test. Body score distributions in each group were also calculated.
The selected CAD risk factors differed significantly among the groups. The sedentary older athletes had significantly higher mean values in weight, BMI, body fat percentage, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides and ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (total C/HDLC) than that of active older athletes and sedentary older non-athletes. A reverse trend was observed in the case of HDL cholesterol. On the other hand, the presently active older athletes had significantly favourable levels of most of the selected CAD risk factors than the sedentary older athletes and non-athletes. The present-day total physical activity had significant negative association with total cholesterol, ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, resting systolic blood pressure when controlling for the effects of age, body mass index and body fat percentages. So, it is confirmed from this analysis that the subjects in the present study who had a greater present-day total physical activity had favourable CAD risk factors.
The results of this study indicate that the risk for CAD or levels of selected CAD risk factors of former athletes after retirement from active sports were more related to the present-day physical activity i.e., higher total physical activity lowers the risk of coronary artery disease.