, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 537-546

Gender Differences in Effects of Physical Activity on Quality of Life and Resource Utilization

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Background: Physical activity is associated with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in the general population, but the effects may be different between sexes. In addition, the effects on resource utilization are not well elucidated. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in a rural town, and follow-up data were obtained after 1 year. Physical activity was measured in two ways: amount and maximum intensity. The association between physical activity and the MOS Short Form-36 (SF-36) at baseline, and hospitalization, sick days, and medications in the following year were assessed by multiple regression models. Results: Among 4018 adult residents eligible, 3529 (62.4%) had completed the follow-up questionnaire. A greater amount of exercise was positively correlated with all domains of the SF-36: 2.4–9.5 increase in 100-scale at baseline, but association between maximum intensity and SF-36 was observed in only women. It was also associated with a 20–50% higher utilization of over-the-counter drugs in the following year in both sexes, but the effects of maximum intensity on sick days had different directions for men (relative risk, 2.0–2.4) and women (relative risk, 0.3–0.5). Conclusion: The amount of physical activity had positive effects on HRQOL for both men and women, but women had more preferable effects of maximum intensity on HRQOL and resource utilization than men.