Relation between self-reported physical activity level, fitness, and cardiometabolic risk

Camille Michael Minder, Gabriel E. Shaya, Erin D. Michos, Tanya E. Keenan, Roger S. Blumenthal, Khurram Nasir, Jose A.M. Carvalho, Raquel D. Conceição, Raul D. Santos, Michael J. Blaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with improved cardiovascular health and reduced all-cause mortality. The relation between self-reported physical activity, objective physical fitness, and the association of each with cardiometabolic risk has not been fully described. We studied 2,800 healthy Brazilian subjects referred for an employer-sponsored health screening. Physical activity level was determined as "low," "moderate," or "high" with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire: Short Form (IPAQ-SF). Fitness was measured as METs achieved on a maximal, symptom-limited, treadmill stress test. Using multivariate linear regression analysis, we calculated age, gender, and smoking-adjusted correlation coefficients among IPAQ-SF, fitness, and cardiometabolic risk factors. Mean age of study participants was 43 ± 9 years; 81% were men, and 43% were highly active. Mean METs achieved was 12 ± 2. IPAQ-SF category and fitness were moderately correlated (r = 0.377). Compared with IPAQ-SF category, fitness was better correlated with cardiometabolic risk factors including anthropomorphic measurements, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, dyslipidemia, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and hepatic steatosis (all p <0.01). Among these, anthropomorphic measurements, blood pressure, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and hepatic steatosis had the largest discrepancies in correlation, whereas lipid factors had the least discrepant correlation. When IPAQ-SF and fitness were discordant, poor fitness drove associations with elevated cardiometabolic risk. In conclusion, self-reported physical activity level and directly measured fitness are moderately correlated, and the latter is more strongly associated with a protective cardiovascular risk profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-643
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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