1. Sattar, Abdus MS, PhD
  2. Josephson, Richard MS, MD
  3. Moore, Shirley M. RN, PhD


Purpose: Patients who attend cardiac rehabilitation programs have a high prevalence of multiple chronic conditions (MCCs). The extent to which different constellations of MCC influence lifestyle exercise in the year after completion of an outpatient phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation program (CRP) is unknown. Our objective was to examine the effects of MCC on lifestyle exercise in the year after completion of a CRP.


Methods: The effects of different constellations of comorbidities on objectively measured lifestyle exercise were examined using data from a randomized controlled trial testing lifestyle behavior change interventions in patients with cardiac events (n = 379) who completed a phase 2 CRP. Adjusting for important covariates, the relationships between the primary outcome, exercise amount, and the presence of common chronic conditions (hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and arthritis) were studied using robust linear mixed-effects models.


Results: Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and their dyads, triads, and quads have a negative impact on amount of exercise. For example, the cooccurrences of obesity and hypertension reduced lifestyle exercise by 2.83 hours per month (95% CI, 1.33-4.33) after adjustment for the effects of covariates. The presence of obesity was a major factor in the comorbid constellations affecting lifestyle exercise.


Conclusions: The presence of obesity and other chronic conditions negatively impacts lifestyle exercise in the year after a CRP. The magnitude of the effect depends on the comorbidities. Different constellations of comorbid conditions can be used to identify those persons at greatest risk for not exercising after cardiac rehabilitation.