Physical fitness levels vs selected coronary risk factors. A cross-sectional study

JAMA. 1976 Jul 12;236(2):166-9.


Several studies show significant correlations of blood variables, weight, abnormal electrocardiograms, and blood pressure with the incidence of coronary heart disease, but the quantification of fitness and its correlation with coronary heart disease is more difficult. In this study, approximately 3,000 men, average age of 44.6 years, were examined for blood and lipid profile, pulmonary function, percent body fat determination, and Balke maximal performance treadmill stress testing with multilead ECG monitoring. Five age-adjusted cardiorespiratory fitness categories were determined from treadmill times. A consistent inverse relationship among physical fitness categories and resting heart rate, body weight, percent body fat, serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, glucose, and systolic blood pressure, was observed. Forced vital capacity was directly related to levels of fitness. These results, although cross-sectional, imply that physical fitness is related to lower coronary risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Risk
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Spirometry


  • Lipids