Exercise in Young Adulthood Delays Hypertension

Inverse relationship seen between exercise intensity and later risk of incident hypertension

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing hypertension in middle age and the risk declines as exercise intensity increases, researchers report in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Emily Parker, M.P.H., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues enrolled 3,993 black and white subjects, aged 18 to 30, for the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. They examined the subjects at baseline, and at two, five, seven, 10 and 15 years later. Physical activity was scored in exercise units with 300 exercise units defined as the amount of exercise needed to support weight loss: five weekly sessions that each burn 300 calories.

After 15 years, the researchers identified 634 cases of incident hypertension. After adjusting for other factors, each 300-exercise unit increment was associated with a modest, statistically significant 17 percent reduction in the risk of developing incident hypertension.

"The results of this study are congruent with lifestyle modifications recommended by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Protection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, which indicates that physical activity merits attention in the prevention of hypertension in black and white men and women even when they are young adults," the authors conclude.

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