Physical activity in patients with stable coronary heart disease: an international perspective
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AIMS: Despite the known benefits of regular exercise, the reasons why many coronary heart disease (CHD) patients engage in little physical activity are not well understood. This study identifies factors associated with low activity levels in individuals with chronic CHD participating in the STABILITY study, a global clinical outcomes trial evaluating the lipoprotein phospholipaseA2 inhibitor darapladib. METHODS AND RESULTS: Prior to randomization, 15 486 (97.8%) participants from 39 countries completed a lifestyle questionnaire. Total physical activity was estimated from individual subject self-reports of hours spend each week on mild, moderate, and vigorous exercise, corresponding approximately to 2, 4, and 8 METS, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression evaluated clinical and demographic variables for the lowest compared with higher overall exercise levels, and for individuals who decreased rather than maintained or increased activity since diagnosis of CHD. The least active 5280 subjects (34%) reported exercise of ≤ 24 MET.h/week. A total of 7191 subjects (46%) reported less exercise compared with before diagnosis of CHD. The majority of participants were either 'not limited' or 'limited a little' walking 100 m (84%), climbing one flight of stairs (82%), or walking 1 km/1/2; mile (68%), and <10% were limited 'a lot' by dyspnoea or angina. Variables independently associated with both low physical activity and decreasing exercise after diagnosis of CHD included more co-morbid conditions, poorer general health, fewer years of education, race, and country (P < 0.001 for all). CONCLUSION: In this international study, low physical activity was only partly explained by cardiovascular symptoms. Potentially modifiable societal and health system factors are important determinants of physical inactivity in patients with chronic CHD.
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