Forschung zu gesundem Altern

Forschung zu gesundem Altern
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ISSN: 2261-7434


Physical activity and the development of visible age-related signs in the general population: A prospective cohort study

Christina B. Petersen, Anne L. Schou, Peter Schnohr, Janne S. Tolstrup

Background: Physical inactivity is a well-known risk factor for multiple diseases and may be associated with increased aging of the body. Visible age-related signs indicate biological age, as individuals appearing old for their age are more likely to be at poor health, compared with people appearing their actual age. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that physical activity is associated with biological aging, indicated by 5 visible age-related signs (arcus corneae, xanthelasmata, earlobe crease, facial wrinkles, and pattern baldness).

Materials and Method: We used information from 11,613 individuals in the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Physical activity and other lifestyle factors were assessed prospectively and visible age-related signs were inspected at subsequent examinations. We performed interval censored survival analyses, using a SE allowing for intragroup correlation, as some individuals were included twice.

Results: Physical activity was not related to the risk of developing earlobe crease, facial wrinkles or pattern baldness. Among men, but not women, moderate physical activity was associated to a lower risk of developing xanthelasmata compared with inactivity (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.49–0.95) while among women, vigorous physical activity was associated to a higher risk of arcus cornea (hazard ratio, 1.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–2.15).

Conclusion: Independent of chronological age, physical activity was not related to visible signs of aging. Aging is a part of a complex multifactorial process. This is the first prospective study to investigate the relation between physical activity level and looking old for your age.