Low cardiorespiratory fitness, obesity tied to later chronic disability
Obesity, low cardiorespiratory fitness and their combination strongly correlated with chronic disability later in life owing to a wide range of diseases and causes, suggests a recent study.
A total of 54,304 men were granted a disability pension over a median follow-up of 28.3 years. A robust association existed between low cardiorespiratory fitness and receipt of a disability pension due to all causes (hazard ratio for lowest vs highest fitness decile, 3.74; 95 percent CI, 3.55–3.95) and specific causes (ie, psychiatric, musculoskeletal, injuries, nervous system, circulatory and tumours).
There was also an association between obesity and higher risk for receipt of a disability pension due to all and specific causes, with the highest risks seen for class II and III obesity.
Furthermore, being moderately or highly fit vs being unfit correlated with a lower risk for receipt of a disability pension across categories of body mass index (BMI).
“Although additional well-designed studies are required, these findings support the importance of high cardiorespiratory fitness and healthy body weight during adolescence to prevent later chronic disease,” the authors said.
This study included Swedish adolescents (n=1,079,128; aged 16–19 years) who were conscripted into the military between 1972 and 1994 and examined individual and combined associations of cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity in this population. The authors measured cardiorespiratory fitness and BMI at conscription, which were linked to data on later receipt of a disability pension from the Social Insurance Agency.
Certain limitations were present, such as the exclusion of women in the analysis, limited data on smoking and alcohol intake, and lack of repeated measures of exposures and covariates.