Occupational physical activity predicts baseline and 8-year progression of carotid atherosclerosis among women

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Recent reviews link higher levels of occupational physical activity (OPA) to cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the evidence for women is inconsistent and studies of activity-limiting symptomatic CVD are prone to healthy worker survivor effect. To address these limitations, this study investigated OPA effects on asymptomatic carotid artery intima–media thickness (IMT) among women.

Participants include 905 women from the population-based Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study with baseline (1998–2001) data on self-reported OPA and sonographic measurement of IMT. Linear mixed models with adjustment for 15 potential confounders estimated and compared mean baseline IMT and 8-year IMT progression for five levels of self-reported OPA. Analyses stratified by cardiovascular health and retirement status were planned because strong interactions between preexisting CVD and OPA intensity have previously been reported.

Light standing work, moderately heavy active work, and heavy or very heavy physical work were all consistently associated with greater baseline IMT and 8-year IMT progression than light sitting work. The greatest baseline IMT was observed for heavy or very heavy physical work (1.21 mm), and the greatest 8-year IMT progression for light standing work and moderately heavy active work (both 0.13 mm), 30% above sitting work (0.10 mm). Stratified analyses showed that these differences were driven by much stronger OPA effects among women with baseline carotid artery stenosis. Retired women experienced slower IMT progression than those working at baseline.

Higher levels of OPA predict higher baseline IMT and 8-year IMT progression, especially among women with baseline stenosis.
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1792-1806
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Primary data collection funded by the Academy of Finland (41471, 1041086, and 2041022); the Finnish Ministry of Education (167/722/96, 157/722/97, and 156/722/98); and the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grant HL44199). This secondary analysis project is funded by the Danish taxpayers, via the Danish Work Environment Research Foundation, grant number 20195100247. The funders had no involvement in any parts of the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science In Sports published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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