Physical activity and incident hypertension in black and white adults: The atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Mark A. Pereira, Aaron R. Folsom, Paul G. McGovern, Myra Carpenter, Donna K. Arnett, Duanping Liao, Moyses Szklo, Richard G. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Background. The epidemiologic observation that physical activity reduces the risk for hypertension has only been made for white men who self-reported hypertension. This study examined physical activity and clinically determined incident hypertension in black and white men and women of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Methods. ARIC is a population-based prospective study with four U.S. clinic centers. The present analyses included 7,459 black and white adults 45-65 years of age. Hypertension (systolic/diastolic blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg) was defined by blood pressure measured by a random-zero device or medication use. Physical activity was assessed with the Baecke questionnaire. Results. After adjustment for age, baseline blood pressure, ARIC center, education, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, parental history of hypertension, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and diet, white men in the highest quartile of leisure activity (primarily cycling and walking) had a 34% lower odds of developing hypertension over 6 years compared to the least active (OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.47-0.94; P for quartile trend = 0.01). Baseline activity was not associated with incident hypertension in white women or blacks. Conclusions. Leisure-time physical activity reduces the odds of hypertension in middle- aged white men. Additional studies in women and blacks are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1The ARIC Study was funded by Contracts N01-HC-55015, N01-HC-55016, N01-HC-55018, N01-HC-55019, N01-HC-55020, N01-HC-55021, and N01-HC-55022 from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. M.A.P. was funded by Training Grant No. T32 HL07036 from the National Institutes of Health.


  • Blood pressure
  • Epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Hypertension
  • Prospective study
  • Race
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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