Contribution of Occupation to High Doses of Light-Intensity Activity and Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Mexican American Adults

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Jennifer L. Gay
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Harold W. Kohl III
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Jennifer J. Salinas
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Joseph B. McCormick
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Susan P. Fisher-Hoch
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Background:

The association between light-intensity activity and cardiovascular disease risk is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the association of light-intensity activity with census-based occupational activity classifications and cardiovascular risk factors among Mexican American adults.

Methods:

118 Mexican American adults (68.6% female) provided cross-sectional accelerometer and biological data. Self-reported occupations were classified by activity level (sedentary, low, moderate). Participants were classified as At-Risk for BMI, glucose, triglycerides, HDL, blood pressure, waist circumference, and percent body fat.

Results:

Participants engaged in > 5 hours of light-intensity activity on average, and those in sedentary occupations engaged in fewer light-intensity activity minutes than low-active or moderately active workers (P < .001). Self-reported occupation explained 14% of the variation in light-intensity activity (P < .001). Participants in moderately active occupations were at increased risk for high %body fat than other workers (P = .01), but no other associations between occupation and cardiovascular risk were detected.

Conclusion:

Early work in physical activity underscored the importance of occupational activity. This study presents evidence of a dose-response association for light-intensity activity by occupational category such that workers in sedentary occupations had less light-intensity activity than employees in more active occupations. Future research on how light-intensity activity derived from occupation may reduce the risk of chronic disease will contribute to improved interventions as light-intensity activity participation may be more feasible than meeting current physical activity guidelines.

Gay (jlgay@uga.edu) is with the Dept of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Kohl is with the Dept of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, Environmental Science, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Austin, TX. Salinas, McCormick, and Fisher-Hoch are with the Division of Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Brownsville, TX.

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