Volume 51, Issue 8 p. 1125-1130

The Associations Between Physical Activity and Inflammatory Markers in High-Functioning Older Persons: MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging

David B. Reuben MD

David B. Reuben MD

Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; and

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Leslie Judd-Hamilton BS

Leslie Judd-Hamilton BS

Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; and

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Tamara B. Harris MD

Tamara B. Harris MD

National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland.

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Teresa E. Seeman PhD

Teresa E. Seeman PhD

Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; and

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First published: 31 July 2003
Citations: 152
Address correspondence to David B. Reuben, MD, UCLA Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 2339, Los Angeles, CA 90095. E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To determine the relationships between recreational activity, house/yard work activity, work activity, and total physical activity and high levels of two peripheral blood markers of inflammation: interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Three communities (Durham, NC; New Haven, CT; and East Boston, MA).

PARTICIPANTS: Eight hundred seventy persons aged 70 to 79 who were in the top third of community-dwelling older persons with respect to physical and cognitive functioning.

MEASUREMENTS: Blood levels of IL-6 and CRP and self-reported recreational activity, house/yard work activity, work activity, and total physical activity.

RESULTS: The adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for individuals with high levels of recreational activity to have values in the top tertiles of IL-6 and CRP were 0.65 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.48–0.87) and 0.70 (95% CI = 0.51–0.95), respectively. The AORs for those with a high level of house/yard work activity to have values in the top tertile of IL-6 and CRP were 0.90 (95% CI = 0.67–1.20) and 0.70 (95% CI = 0.50–0.96), respectively. High levels of house/yard work and recreational activity were independently associated with lower risk of high CRP.

CONCLUSION: The association between high levels of recreational activity and lower levels of the inflammatory markers IL-6 and CRP suggests a mechanism for its protective effect and supports interventions that increase physical activity in older persons. Such potential benefits of increased physical activity on inflammatory markers will need to be confirmed in clinical trials.