Physical Activity, Inflammation, Coronary Artery Calcification, and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in African Americans: Insights From the Jackson Heart Study

Mayo Clin Proc. 2021 Apr;96(4):901-911. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.09.042. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Objective: To examine associations between physical activity (PA), inflammation, coronary artery calcification (CAC), and incident coronary heart disease (CHD) in African Americans.

Methods: Among Jackson Heart Study participants without prevalent CHD at baseline (n=4295), we examined the relationships between PA and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, the presence of CAC (Agatston score ≥100), and incident CHD. Based on the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 metrics, participants were classified as having poor, intermediate, or ideal PA.

Results: After adjustment for possible confounding factors, ideal PA was associated with lower high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels (β, -0.15; 95% CI, -0.15 to -0.002) and a lower prevalence of CAC (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.51-0.96) compared with poor PA. During a median of 12.8 years of follow-up, there were 164 incident CHD events (3.3/1000 person-years). Ideal PA was associated with a lower rate of incident CHD compared with poor PA (hazard ratio, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.31-0.98).

Conclusion: In a large community-based African American cohort, ideal PA was associated with lower inflammation levels, a lower prevalence of CAC, and a lower rate of incident CHD. These findings suggest that promotion of ideal PA may be an important way to reduce the risk of subclinical and future clinical CHD in African Americans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vascular Calcification / epidemiology*