Physical Activity and Lipid Profile in the ELSA- Brasil Study

Arq Bras Cardiol. 2016 Jul;107(1):10-9. doi: 10.5935/abc.20160091. Epub 2016 Jun 23.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Background: Regular physical activity (PA) induces desirable changes in plasma levels of high- and low-density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL, respectively) and triglycerides (TG), important risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. However, doubts whether intensity and duration have equivalent benefits remain.

Objective: To assess the association of PA intensity and duration with HDL, LDL and TG levels.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with 12,688 participants from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) baseline, who were not on lipid-lowering medication. After adjustment for important covariates, multiple linear regression was used to assess the association of PA intensity and duration with HDL, LDL and TG (natural logarithm) levels.

Results: Both moderate and vigorous PA and PA practice ≥ 150 min/week were significantly associated with higher HDL and lower TG levels. Vigorous PA was associated with lower LDL only on univariate analysis. After adjustments, moderate and vigorous PA increased mean HDL level by 0.89 mg/dL and 1.71 mg/dL, respectively, and reduced TG geometric mean by 0.98 mg/dL and 0.93 mg/dL, respectively. PA practice ≥ 150 min/week increased mean HDL level by 1.05 mg/dL, and decreased TG geometric mean by 0.98 mg/dL.

Conclusion: Our findings reinforce the benefits of both PA parameters studied on HDL and TG levels, with a slight advantage for vigorous PA as compared to the recommendation based only on PA duration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides