BACKGROUND AND AIMS: While studies have described the importance of higher physical activity levels (PAL) in weight loss, the impact of self-initiated PAL on health status warrants further study. We aimed to prospectively examine the effects of self-initiated longitudinal PAL changes on body mass index (BMI) and cardiometabolic parameters in normal weight, overweight and obese adults.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We included 4840 adults (mean age 41.6 ± 7.9 years, 79% male) undergoing routine health screening examinations. Self-reported PAL, height, weight, blood pressure and blood samples were collected at baseline and after a mean (95% confidence interval) follow up of 536 (531-541) days. Subjects were stratified according to BMI [39.8% normal weight (<25 kg/m2), 45.1% overweight (25.0-29.9 kg/m2), and 19.1% obese (≥30 kg/m2)]. In normal weight individuals, BMI increased from baseline to follow-up, irrespective of PAL changes. On the other hand, overweight and obese individuals that increased PAL experienced a decrease in BMI by -0.9% and -3.1%, respectively (p < 0.05). Overweight and obese individuals that increased PAL also experienced a decrease in -5.8% -4.6% in non-HDL concentrations from baseline to follow-up (p < 0.05). Finally, in overweight individuals, LDL cholesterol concentrations decreased from baseline to follow-up, irrespective of PAL changes whereas in obese individuals, a maintenance or increased PAL were associated with a decrease in -4.7% and -6.1% (p < 0.05), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: In a large cohort of screening patients, longitudinal self-initiated PAL is associated with improved BMI and cardiometabolic profile in overweight and obese individuals.