Purpose: The Strong Heart Study is a study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors among American Indian men and women aged 45-74 yr representative of 13 communities from Arizona (AZ), Oklahoma (OK), and North/South Dakota (N/SD). This investigation sought to characterize the amount and type of physical activity and to determine the association between activity and lipids in this population.
Methods: Total physical activity (occupational plus leisure) was assessed with a validated questionnaire.
Results: Men and women from OK (21 +/- 19 and 16 +/- 15 h.wk-1; respectively) and N/SD (23 +/- 21 and 17 +/- 17 h.wk-1; respectively) had activity levels that were similar if not lower than the U.S. population with the AZ communities (17 +/- 21 and 10 +/- 14 h.wk-1; respectively) being substantially lower than the other two communities. Total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) levels were lower than the U.S. population.
Conclusions: For most of the population (diabetic men and nondiabetic men and women), activity was significantly associated (P < 0.05) with apolipoprotein (apo) AI after controlling for covariates. With levels of activity as low if not lower than the general U.S. population coupled with high prevalence of obesity and diabetes, efforts to increase physical activity in American Indians are warranted. Hopefully these increases in activity will result in favorable lipid changes as well as decreasing the risk of diabetes which is epidemic in these populations.