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Walking pace is inversely associated with risk of death and cardiovascular disease: The Physicians’ Health Study

  • Tasnim F. Imran
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 1 Boston Medical Center Place, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.
    Affiliations
    Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 E Concord St, Boston, MA, 02118, USA

    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
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  • Ariela Orkaby
    Affiliations
    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
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  • Jiaying Chen
    Affiliations
    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Senthil Selvaraj
    Affiliations
    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
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  • Jane A. Driver
    Affiliations
    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • J. Michael Gaziano
    Affiliations
    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Luc Djoussé
    Affiliations
    Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02130, USA

    Department of Medicine, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Boston, MA, 02120, USA
    Search for articles by this author

      Highlights

      • Walking pace is being increasingly used to assess functional status in ambulatory settings.
      • It is simple to evaluate and can be performed with little time and cost in various settings.
      • Walking pace was inversely associated with the risk of death and development of cardiovascular disease.

      Abstract

      Background

      Walking pace is increasingly being used to assess functional status in ambulatory settings.

      Methods

      We conducted a prospective analysis within the Physicians’ Health Study to examine whether walking pace is associated with mortality and incident cardiovascular disease (fatal or nonfatal myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty). Participants included 21,919 male physicians with a mean age of 67.8 ± 9.0 years.

      Results

      After a median follow-up of 9.4 years (IQR: 7.9–10.3), 3906 deaths and 2487 incident CVD events occurred. In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for age, body mass index, smoking, exercise frequency, and prevalent hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, cancer, and total weekly walking time, hazard ratios for mortality were 0.72 (95% CI: 0.64–0.81) for walking pace of 2-2.9mph, 0.63 (95% CI: 0.55–0.73) for walking pace of 3-3.9mph and 0.63 (95% CI: 0.48–0.83) for walking pace of ≥4mph compared to the group that reported not walking regularly (p trend <0.0001). Similar findings were observed for incident CVD: HRs were 0.88 (95% CI: 0.75–1.03) for a walking pace of 2-2.9mph, 0.75 (95% CI: 0.63–0.89) for a walking pace of 3-3.9mph and 0.70 (0.53–0.94) for a walking pace of ≥4mph compared to the group that reported not walking regularly (p trend 0.0001). These associations persisted after excluding those who exercised regularly.

      Conclusion

      We found that walking pace is inversely associated with risk of mortality and CVD among US male physicians.

      Keywords

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