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Sex disparities in physical activity domains and hypertension prevalence.

Clinical Hypertension 2024 January 3
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to examine the associations of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) and occupational physical activity (OPA) with the prevalence of hypertension, while exploring the sex disparities in these associations.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2014 and 2019 (n = 26,534). Hypertension was defined as the use of antihypertensive drugs or systolic and diastolic blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mm Hg. Self-reported physical activity (PA), assessed by the global PA questionnaire, was categorized into three domains: total PA, LTPA and OPA. Each PA domain was classified based on METs-min/wk and intensity.

RESULTS: In a multivariable adjusted model, the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the prevalence of hypertension in the active versus inactive group, based on METs, was 0.92 (95% CI 0.85-0.99) for total PA, 0.90 (95% CI 0.83-0.98) for LTPA and 1.21 (95% CI 1.05-1.38) for OPA. Compared to the inactive group, moderate to vigorous intensity was associated with a lower odds of hypertension for total PA and LTPA (total PA: OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.89-1.00 and LTPA: OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86-0.98), but a higher odd for OPA (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.05-1.30). Subgroup analyses showed significant evidence of effect modification by sex on the associations of total PA and LTPA (METs and intensity) with hypertension prevalence (p-values for interaction < 0.01); the associations were generally stronger for women. OPA was associated with a higher prevalence of hypertension in women, but not in men (p-value for interaction > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Higher levels of total PA and LTPA were associated with lower prevalence of hypertension in both men and women, with slightly stronger associations for women. However, higher OPA was associated with a higher prevalence of hypertension in women. These findings support the PA health paradox hypothesis and highlight the sex disparities in the association between OPA and hypertension prevalence.

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