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.
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.
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.
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.