Author(s): Gardner AW
The purpose of this study was to determine whether physical activity level was directly and independently related to the ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure index (ABI) in subjects without peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). A total of 353 subjects between the age of 38 and 88 years (63.7 +/- 9.1 years; mean +/- standard deviation) who had ABI values > or = 1.00 were studied. The sample consisted of 230 men and 123 women, of whom 274 were caucasian and 79 were African-American. Subjects were characterized on blood pressure, physical activity level from validated questionnaires, anthropometry, plasma lipoprotein lipids, and smoking history. The ABI (1.16 +/- 0.13) was related to physical activity obtained from the Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity (LTPA) questionnaire (r = 0.413, P < 0.001). Multiple regression analysis identified race, hypertension, current smoking status, and body mass index (BMI) as cardiovascular risk factors that were independently related to ABI. After controlling for these variables, the relationship between ABI and physical activity persisted (partial r = 0.329, P < 0.001). Thus, physical activity was positively related to ABI in subjects free of PAOD, and the relationship between physical activity and ABI persisted after controlling for race, hypertension, current smoking status, and BMI. It is concluded that adopting a physically active lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk of developing PAOD.