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Cardiovascular Mortality, Habitual Exercise, and Particulate Matter 2.5 Exposure: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

Published:October 19, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2022.09.004

      Introduction

      Habitual exercise may amplify the respiratory uptake of air pollutants in the lung, exacerbating the adverse effects of air pollution. However, it is unclear whether this can reduce the health benefits of habitual exercise (referred to as leisure-time exercise). Thus, the combined effects of habitual exercise and chronic exposure to ambient fine particulate matter 2.5 on cardiovascular mortality were examined among adults in Taiwan.

      Methods

      A total of 384,128 adults were recruited between 2001 and 2016 and followed up to May 31, 2019. Participants’ vital status was obtained by matching their unique identification numbers with records of cardiovascular death in the National Death Registry of Taiwan. A time-varying Cox regression model was used to analyze the data. Analyses were conducted in 2021.

      Results

      Cardiovascular death risks were inversely associated with habitual exercise and positively associated with chronic exposure to particulate matter 2.5. The beneficial effects of habitual exercise on cardiovascular mortality were not modified by chronic exposure to particulate matter 2.5. Inactive participants with high particulate matter 2.5 exposure exhibited a 123% higher risk of cardiovascular death than high-exercise-group participants exposed to low levels of particulate matter 2.5 (95% CI=89, 163).

      Conclusions

      High level of habitual exercise combined with low exposure level of ambient particulate matter 2.5 is associated with the lowest risk of cardiovascular death. A higher level of habitual exercise is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular death at all levels of particulate matter 2.5 exposure studied. The results indicate that habitual exercise is a safe health promotion strategy even for people residing in relatively polluted regions.
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