Research Study Abstract

Physical Activity and Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Diseases in Three Different Working Classes in Iceland

  • Presented on 25 October 2012

Aim The aim of this study was to compare the lifestyle of three different working classes: office clerks, blue-collar workers and farmers, and investigate whether there was a difference in physical activity and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) between these working classes.

Methods 162 individuals were measured for:

  • Body composition: Body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, hip/waist ratio, body fat percentage.
  • Blood pressure: Systolic and diastolic resting blood pressures.
  • Blood measurements: Triglycerides (TGL), total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), insulin and glucose.
  • Physical activity: Measured with accelerometers. Both total physical activity (total counts) and time spent in moderate physical activity and above (3 METs).

Results Physical activity: Male farmers (470.1 ± 150.5 kcounts/day) and blue-collar workers (433.3 ± 216.3 kcounts/day) had higher levels of total physical activity compared to office clerks 256.8 ± 111.3 kcounts/day).
Body composition: Male farmers had lower body fat percentage compared to office clerks. Male farmers had lower waist/hip ratio compared to either blue-collar workers or office clerks.
Blood pressure: Farmers had lower diastolic blood pressure than blue-collar workers. No difference was found for systolic blood pressure.
Lipoproteins: Farmers had lower TGL and higher HDL compared to the other two working classes.
Blood glucose and insulin: Farmers had lower blood glucose levels compared to the other two working classes. No difference was found in plasma insulin levels.

Conclusion Farmers had the most favorable levels of CVD risk factors of the three working classes. A plausible part of the explanation for the more preferable CVD risk factors levels among farmers, compared to the other two working classes, is the relatively high level of work-related physical activity and the diversity required by farm work.

Presented at

7th European Youth Hearty Study Scientific Symposium