Risk of Hypertension and Physical Activity

MedicalResearch.com Interview
Ma, Wei
Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics
School of Public Health
Shandong University
Jinan, Shandong Province, 250012 China

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The results of this meta-analysis suggested that there was an inverse dose-response association between levels of recreational physical activity and risk of hypertension. Individuals who participated in high levels of recreational physical activity had a 19% lower risk of hypertension than those who didn’t exercise much. In addition, those with moderate levels of recreational physical activity had an 11% lower risk of hypertension.

However, there was no significant association between occupational physical activity and risk of hypertension.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: Occupational physical activity was not linked to a lower risk of hypertension, so health guidelines promoting people to take part in more exercise should distinguish between recreational physical activity and occupational physical activity

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: People without hypertension should take part in more recreational exercise, which is beneficial for the prevention of hypertension. However, the study population was healthy people without history of hypertension when they were included in the prospective cohort at baseline, so the results have limited evidences to patients with hypertension.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: First, it is important to calculate the precise energy that one should consume through recreational physical activity. In addition, sex, age, race and obese status should be stratified when the precise energy is calculated. Second, the association between recreational physical activity and decreased risk of hypertension in this meta-analysis might be confounded by various factors. Thus, large scale randomized controlled trials are recommended to assess the impact of physical activity per se on the incidence rates of hypertension.


Physical Activity and Risk of Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies.Hypertension. 2013 Sep 30. [Epub ahead of print]
Huai P, Xun H, Reilly KH, Wang Y, Ma W, Xi B.
PMID: 24082054

Last Updated on October 3, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD