Leisure-time exercise, physical activity during work and commuting, and risk of metabolic syndrome
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Data are limited regarding effect of intensity of leisure-time physical activity on metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, no prospective data are available regarding effect of occupational and commuting physical activity on metabolic syndrome. We compared metabolic syndrome risk by intensity level of leisure-time exercise and by occupational and commuting physical activity in Japanese workers. We followed 22,383 participants, aged 30–64 years, without metabolic syndrome until 2014 March (maximum, 5 years of follow-up). Physical activity was self-reported. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the Joint Statement criteria. We used Cox regression models to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) of metabolic syndrome. During a mean follow-up of 4.1 years, 5361 workers developed metabolic syndrome. After adjustment for covariates, compared with engaging in no exercise, the HRs (95 % CIs) for <7.5, 7.5 to <16.5, and ≥16.5 metabolic equivalent hours of exercise per week were 0.99 (0.90, 1.08), 0.99 (0.90, 1.10), and 0.95 (0.83, 1.08), respectively, among individuals engaging in moderate-intensity exercise alone; 0.93 (0.75, 1.14), 0.81 (0.64, 1.02), and 0.84 (0.66, 1.06), among individuals engaging in vigorous-intensity exercise alone; and 0.90 (0.70, 1.17), 0.74 (0.62, 0.89), and 0.81 (0.69, 0.96) among individuals engaging in the two intensities. Higher occupational physical activity was weakly but significantly associated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Walking to and from work was not associated with metabolic syndrome. Vigorous-intensity exercise alone or vigorous-intensity combined with moderate-intensity exercise and worksite intervention for physical activity may help prevent metabolic syndrome for Japanese workers.
KeywordsCohort studies Intensity of exercise Dose of exercise Domain of physical activity Prevention Asians
The authors thank Maki Konishi (National Center for Global Health and Medicine) for data management, and Rika Osawa (National Center for Global Health and Medicine) for administrative support.
The present study was funded by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (25871166) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and a fund from the Industrial Health Foundation.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare there is no conflict of interest. Honda, T., Nakagawa, T., Yamamoto, S., and Hayashi, T. are occupational physician in the participating company.
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