Association Between Physical Activity and Odds of Chronic Conditions Among Workers in Spain

Rubén López-Bueno, Rúni Bláfoss, Joaquín Calatayud, Guillermo F. López-Sánchez, Lee Smith, Lars L. Andersen, José A. Casajús

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INTRODUCTION: Prevention of chronic conditions is a major public health challenge, and achieving minimum recommended levels of physical activity aids in reaching this objective. The aim of our study was to investigate whether levels of physical activity were associated with the prevalence of common chronic conditions among the Spanish workforce. METHODS: We retrieved data from the Spanish National Health Survey 2017 (N = 9,695) in which the mean age of participants was 44.4 (standard deviation, 10.4 y), and 47.4% were women. Workers self-reported a set of 6 chronic conditions (ie, chronic low-back pain, chronic neck pain, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and anxiety), and we used the International Physical Activity Questionnaire short form to estimate physical activity. We performed multivariable logistic regression adjusted for possible confounders to assess associations between physical activity and chronic conditions. RESULTS: The final adjusted model showed that performing less than 600 metabolic equivalent-minutes per week of physical activity was associated with significantly increased odds for chronic conditions (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.18; 95% CI, 1.07-1.30). Of the sex and age subgroups analyzed, this association was significant in men aged 17 to 44 (aOR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1.00-1.46). Among chronic conditions, low-back pain and anxiety were associated with low levels of physical activity, whereas covariates such as body mass index, smoking habits, education level, and occupational class had an important influence on the association between physical activity and chronic conditions. CONCLUSION: Results suggest that achieving sufficient physical activity could reduce chronic conditions among Spanish workers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventing chronic disease
Pages (from-to)200105
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 8. Oct 2020


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