Physical activity and stroke incidence: The Harvard alumni health study. Stroke

Abstract

Background and Purpose—Physiologically, it appears plausible for physical activity to decrease stroke risk; however, epidemiological studies have produced mixed findings. Furthermore, few studies have examined specific kinds and intensities of activities. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between physical activity, including its various components (walking, climbing stairs, participation in sports and recreational activities), and stroke risk. Methods—This was a prospective cohort study of 11 130 Harvard University alumni (mean age, 58 years) without cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline. Men reported their walking, stair climbing, and participation in sports or recreation on baseline questionnaires in 1977. Stroke occurrence was assessed with another questionnaire in 1988. Death certificates were obtained for decedents through 1990 to determine strokes not previously reported (total strokes5378). We used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate the relative risks and 95 % CIs for stroke occurrence associated with physical activity. Results—After adjustment for age, smoking, alcohol intake, and early parental death, the relative risks of stroke associate

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