OBJECTIVE: The potential benefits of physical activity on the development of respiratory symptoms are not well known. The present study investigated the longitudinal association between physical fitness and the development of asthma-like symptoms from childhood to adulthood in a longitudinal community-based study.
METHODS: Participants were assessed at ages 9, 15, 20 and 29 years. Asthma-like symptoms and physical fitness was assessed at each age.
RESULTS: Tracking for physical fitness was high from age 9 to 29 years. Using logistic regression, high physical fitness at age 9 predicted a lower prevalence of asthma-like symptoms at ages 9, 20 and 29 years. Asthma at age 9 and female sex and smoking at any age were also independently associated with the presence of asthma-like symptoms. Our findings suggest that the risk for the development of asthma is reduced by 3% and of asthma-like symptoms reduced by 2% from early adolescence to young adulthood (ages 9-29 years) by increasing the maximal workload with 1 W/kg.
CONCLUSION: This finding provide further evidence of a possible beneficial effect of physical activity in childhood on the development of respiratory symptoms in adulthood and supports the notion that the lower levels of physical activity in recent decades may have contributed to an increase in the prevalence of asthma and asthma-like symptoms.