Participation in regular physical activity is critical to sustaining good health. We examined the association between physical activity and asthma in different age groups.
We analyzed data from approximately 130,000 Canadians aged ≥12 years who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey in 2000-01. Physical activity index was calculated based on self-reported time spent on specific leisure-time activities, and was categorized into active (≥ 3.0 kcal/kg/day), moderate (≥ 1.5 and < 3.0) and inactive (<1.5) groups. Physical activity for usual day was assessed by asking the question: “Thinking over the past 3 months, which of the following best describes your usual daily activities or work: Usually sit/Stand or walk quit a lot/Usually lift or carry light loads/Do heavy work or carry very heavy loads?” A bootstrap procedure was used to take sampling weights and design effects into account.
The prevalence of self-reported asthma was 9.3% in the active group, 8.0% in the moderately active group and 8.6% in the inactive group. The prevalence of physical inactivity was 52.9% in asthmatic persons and 53.5% in non-asthmatic persons. Children and young adults with asthma were slightly more active than those without asthma at leisure time. However, men and women with asthma were less active than non-asthma counterparts in those aged ≥60 years. For elderly people the prevalence of asthma was almost doubled in men and women who were sedentary compared with those who reported lifting light loads or doing heavy work for usual day. The results were similar when covariates (smoking, body mass index, COPD and others) were taken into consideration.CONCLUSIONS: Less physical activities were associated with an increased risk of asthma in elderly people but not in children and young adults. Reasons for the age difference in the physical activity and asthma association needs to be further explored.
Health benefits of physical activity are well established. Increased attention should be paid to elderly people with asthma for physical activity programs.
Y. Chen, None.