Abundant evidence has documented inverse associations of physical activity and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the effects of different types of physical activity (e.g., leisure time and occupational physical activity) are still poorly understood.
Drawing on recommended and established guidelines for study selection, we identified and included 23 prospective epidemiological studies published during the last 2 years. These studies included a total of more than 790 000 adults at baseline with some 22 000 incident cases occurring during follow-up. Our findings suggest that moderate and high levels of leisure time physical activity are associated with a moderately reduced risk of CVD. In contrast, moderate and high levels of occupational physical activity showed weak positive associations, that is, a slightly increased risk of CVD.
This updated meta-analysis supports the notion of primary prevention of CVD through engagement in leisure time physical activity. The role of occupational physical activity in CVD prevention is questionable.
aInstitute of Occupational and Social Medicine
bInstitute of Medical Sociology, Center for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
cMannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Mannheim Medical Faculty, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany
Correspondence to Dr Jian Li, Institute of Occupational and Social Medicine, Center for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, Düsseldorf 40225, Germany. Tel: +49 211 8108161; fax: +49 211 8115334; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org