Exercise Intensity Affects Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Intensity of exercise plays a larger role than volume of physical activity in reducing risk

THURSDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) correlates with a reduction in the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS), with the intensity of exercise, rather than the volume, impacting the risk, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in BMJ Open.

Adam Hoegsbro Laursen, from the Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues prospectively analyzed data from 10,135 men and women aged 21 to 98 years who were initially examined in 1991 to 1994 and followed for 10 years. The correlation of LTPA, jogging, walking speed, and walking volume with MetS was assessed at baseline and at the 10-year follow-up.

The researchers found that the baseline prevalence of MetS was 20.7 and 27.3 percent in women and men, respectively. Lower LTPA and walking speed correlated with the prevalence of MetS in both men and women, while the prevalence was lower in joggers than non-joggers. At the 10-year follow-up, 15.4 percent of subjects who were free of MetS at baseline had developed MetS. After adjustment, the odds ratio of developing MetS was reduced in those with moderate/high LTPA (0.71; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.50 to 1.01), fast walking speed (0.51; 95 percent CI, 0.33 to 0.80), and joggers (0.60; 95 percent CI, 0.37 to 0.95), while the odds ratio for walking more than one hour per day was 1.22 (95 percent CI, 0.91 to 1.65).

"Our results confirm the role of physical activity in reducing MetS risk and suggest that intensity more than volume of physical activity is important," the authors write.

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