Trajectories of Lipids and Lipoproteins With Aging | Journal Scan

Study Questions:

Does cardiorespiratory fitness influence change in lipids with age?


Data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study were used for the present analysis. Participants without a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline were included. Men with a self-reported history of elevated high cholesterol, and/or triglycerides were also excluded. Participants completed a mean of 3.5 health examinations from 1970 to 2006. Cardiorespiratory fitness was quantified by a maximal treadmill test.


A total of 11,418 men, ages 20-90 years, were included in this study. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was inversely associated with total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and non–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Participants with lower cardiorespiratory fitness were more likely to have higher body mass indexes, diabetes, hypertension, current smoking, sedentary behaviors, and a parental history of cardiovascular disease. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and non-HDL cholesterol were observed to each have an inverted U-shape quadratic trajectory with aging such that increases in these lipid parameters were noted till the ages of mid-40s to early 50s, followed by a decline with increased age. Among men with lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, the increase in total cholesterol, LDL >130 mg/dl, and non-HDL >160 mg/dl was observed earlier in life compared to men with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. Among men with poorer fitness levels, abnormal levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were noted approximately 15 years earlier than for men with high levels of fitness. A significant interaction between age and cardiorespiratory fitness was noted; indicating that cardiorespiratory fitness was more strongly associated with lipids in young to middle-aged men than for older men.


The investigators concluded that there exists a differential trajectory of lipids and lipoproteins with aging according to level of cardiorespiratory fitness among healthy men.


These data suggest that increasing cardiorespiratory fitness may reduce and/or delay increases in adverse lipid profiles among healthy men. This adds further evidence of the benefits of fitness for cardiovascular prevention. Understanding such trajectories among women is warranted.

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Dyslipidemia, Prevention, Sports and Exercise Cardiology, Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia, Hypertriglyceridemia, Lipid Metabolism, Nonstatins, Hypertension, Smoking, Sports and Exercise and ECG and Stress Testing

Keywords: Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cholesterol, Cholesterol, LDL, Cholesterol, HDL, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemias, Exercise Test, Hypercholesterolemia, Hypertension, Lipids, Lipoproteins, HDL, Lipoproteins, LDL, Longitudinal Studies, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Physical Fitness, Primary Prevention, Sedentary Lifestyle, Self Report, Smoking, Triglycerides

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