The effect of physical fitness and other risk factors on the incidence of hypertension in apparently healthy adult women: a longitudinal study




Perrin, Joe L.

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A longitudinal study was conducted to determine whether significant differences existed between baseline physical fitness measures and other risk factors, identified during an initial visit to the Cooper Clinic, and subsequent development of hypertension in women over a period of 19 years. The study population was comprised of 4,327 adult women who completed a mailed questionnaire, of whom 2,677 participated in the study. The 2,677 participants ranged from 20 to 78 years of age (with a mean age of 43.4 years). Subjects were excluded from the study if they had a resting blood pressure above 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic, or if other coronary heart disease risk factors were identified at the time of their first physical examination. Subjects were grouped into three fitness levels (low, moderate, and high) based on length of time on a treadmill test which was adjusted for age. Participants were followed for durations ranging from a minimum of one year to a maximum of 19 years. The average duration of study of a participant was 7.1 years, totaling 18,988 person-years of followup. No intervention or supervision was provided throughout the study period. During the period from 1970 to 1989, 115 new cases of hypertension were reported, an increased incidence rate of 4.3%.

The study, tested at the 95% confidence level, identified age, body mass index, and physical fitness as risk factors that significantly effected the incidence of hypertension. In addition, the study found that diabetes mellitus, smoking, and alcohol consumption did not effect the incidence of hypertension significantly.



Public health, Health education, Health and environmental sciences