, Volume 195, Issue 5, pp 607–611 | Cite as

Cardiorespiratory Fitness is Associated with Reduced Risk of Respiratory Diseases in Middle-Aged Caucasian Men: A Long-Term Prospective Cohort Study

  • Setor K. KunutsorEmail author
  • Tanjaniina Laukkanen
  • Jari A. Laukkanen


Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), an index of cardiac and respiratory functioning, is strongly associated with a reduced risk of adverse health outcomes. We aimed to assess the prospective association of CRF with the risk of respiratory diseases (defined as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, or asthma). Cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by maximal oxygen uptake, was assessed in 1974 middle-aged men. During a median follow-up of 25.7 years, 382 hospital diagnosed respiratory diseases were recorded. Cardiorespiratory fitness was linearly associated with risk of respiratory diseases. In analysis adjusted for several established and potential risk factors, the hazard ratio (HR) (95% CI) for respiratory diseases was 0.63 (0.45–0.88), when comparing extreme quartiles of CRF levels. The corresponding multivariate adjusted HR (95% CI) for pneumonia was 0.67 (0.48–0.95). Our findings indicate a graded inverse and independent association between CRF and the future risk of respiratory diseases in a general male Caucasian population.


Cardiorespiratory fitness Maximal oxygen uptake Respiratory disease Pneumonia Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Asthma 



Confidence interval


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Cardiorespiratory fitness


Hazard ratio


Kuopio ischemic heart disease


Standard deviation


Maximal oxygen uptake



We thank the staff of the Kuopio Research Institute of Exercise Medicine and the Research Institute of Public Health and University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland for the data collection in the study.


This study was funded by The Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Helsinki, Finland.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest


Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Clinical SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Institute of Public Health and Clinical NutritionUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Central Finland Central HospitalJyväskyläFinland

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