Ambiguity exists in relation to the role of physical activity (PA) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction. We examined the interplay between PA dimensions and more conventional CVD risk factors to assess which PA dimensions were associated with the first CVD event and whether subgroup differences exist.
A total of 1449 individuals [median age 65.8 (IQR: 61.2, 70.7) years] with low to high risk of type 2 diabetes and free from CVD from the Danish ADDITION-PRO study were included for survival analysis. PA was measured by individually calibrated heart rate and movement sensing for 7 consecutive days. The associations of different PA dimensions (PA energy expenditure, time spent in light-, moderate- and vigorous intensity PA), sedentary time and other conventional CVD risk factors with the first CVD event were examined by tree-structured survival analysis. Baseline information was linked to data on the first CVD event (ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, heart failure, atrial flutter/fibrillation and atherosclerotic disease) and mortality obtained from Danish registers.
During a median follow-up time of 5.5 (IQR: 5.1–6.1) years, a total of 201 individuals (13.9%) developed CVD. Overall CVD incidence rate was 2.6/100 person-years. PA energy expenditure above 43 kJ/kg/day was associated with lower rates of CVD events among participants ≤ 70 years and with HbA1c ≤ 5.7% (39 mmol/mol), systolic blood pressure ≤ 156 mmHg and albumin creatinine ratio ≤ 70 (incidence rates 0.0–0.8/100 person-years).
Any type of PA resulting in increased PA energy expenditure may over time be the best prevention strategy to uphold reduced risk of CVD.