Objective We assessed associations between physical activity and lung function, and its decline, in the prospective population-based European Community Respiratory Health Survey cohort.
Methods FEV1 and FVC were measured in 3912 participants at 27–57 years and 39–67 years (mean time between examinations=11.1 years). Physical activity frequency and duration were assessed using questionnaires and used to identify active individuals (physical activity ≥2 times and ≥1 hour per week) at each examination. Adjusted mixed linear regression models assessed associations of regular physical activity with FEV1 and FVC.
Results Physical activity frequency and duration increased over the study period. In adjusted models, active individuals at the first examination had higher FEV1 (43.6 mL (95% CI 12.0 to 75.1)) and FVC (53.9 mL (95% CI 17.8 to 89.9)) at both examinations than their non-active counterparts. These associations appeared restricted to current smokers. In the whole population, FEV1 and FVC were higher among those who changed from inactive to active during the follow-up (38.0 mL (95% CI 15.8 to 60.3) and 54.2 mL (95% CI 25.1 to 83.3), respectively) and who were consistently active, compared with those consistently non-active. No associations were found for lung function decline.
Conclusion Leisure-time vigorous physical activity was associated with higher FEV1 and FVC over a 10-year period among current smokers, but not with FEV1 and FVC decline.
- forced expiratory volume in one second
- forced vital capacity
- physical activity
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Contributors EF, A-EC and JGA designed the study. EF wrote the initial draft, conducted the statistical analyses and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication. All authors provided substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work, revised the manuscript for important intellectual content, approved the final version, and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Funding This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship scheme (Elaine Fuertes, H2020- MSCA-IF-2015; proposal number 704268). The present analyses are part of the Ageing Lungs in European Cohorts (ALEC) Study (www.alecstudy.org), which has also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 633212. The local investigators and funding agencies for the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS II and ECRHS III) are reported in the online supplementary file. These funders did not have any role in the study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, in the writing of the report, and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests PD reports consulting fees from ALK, Stallergènes Greer, Circassia, Chiesi, Thermofisher Scientific and Ménarini, and AGC reports grants from Chiesi Farmaceutici and from GlaxoSmithKline Italy, during the conduct of the study. Other authors declare no competing interests related to this work.
Ethics approval Each participating center obtained ethical approval from their local ethics committees and followed the rules for ethics and data protection from their country, which were in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Author note ISGlobal is a member of CERCA Programme/Generalitat de Catalunya.
Presented at Some of the results were presented in the form of an oral presentation at the 2016 European Respiratory Society International Congress.
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