The relation of physical activity to cardiovascular disease risk factors in mauritians

Paul Z. Zimmet, Veronica R. Collins, Gary K. Dowse, K. George M.M. Alberti, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Hassam Gareeboo, Pierrot Chitson

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The authors investigated the relation between physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a random sample of 4, 658 Asian Indian, Creole, and Chinese adults aged 25-74 years from the island nation of Mauritius. Subjects known to have diabetes were excluded from analyses Subjects were divided into "active" and "inactive" groups on the basis of a combined leisure and occupational physical activity score determined at interview (April 1987). Two-hour plasma glucose concentration and fasting and 2-hour serum insulin concentrations were significantly lower and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was significantly higher in active subjects of both sexes. Plasma uric acid and fasting triglyceride levels were also lower among active subjects, but significantly so only in females. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), and waist:hip ratio varied little between the two activity groups. In multiple linear regression analyses, physical activity made an independent negative contribution to the models for 2-hour glucose and insulin in both males and females, as well as for fasting insulin in males. When glucose and insulin were not included, physical activity also made an independent contribution to the models for plasma triglycerides (inversely) in females and HDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol as a proportion of total cholesterol (positively) in males. The authors have demonstrated improved cardiovascular disease profiles associated with physical activity in Mauritians. The data suggest that much of the effect is modulated via an effect on insulin-glucose metabolism. Promotion of exercise should become an important strategy in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and glucose intolerance in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-875
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Exercise
  • Non-insulin-dependent

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