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Family History of Chronic Disease and Meeting Public Health Guidelines for Physical Activity: The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study


      We aimed to assess whether a family history of coronary heart disease, diabetes, or cancer is linked to meeting public health guidelines for health-promoting physical activity. To achieve this objective, we analyzed data on 29,513 adults who came to the Cooper Clinic (Dallas, Texas) between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2010, for a preventive medicine visit. Patients completed a comprehensive medical survey including information on family medical history, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to examine the relationship between having a family history of chronic disease and meeting physical activity guidelines. The results indicated that individuals with a family history of disease had reduced odds for meeting or exceeding physical activity guidelines. For example, participants with a family history of 3 diseases were 36% less likely to meet or exceed physical activity guidelines than their counterparts without a family history of disease (odds ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.58-0.72), while controlling for covariates. Among this large sample of adults, those with a family history of chronic disease were less inclined to regularly engage in physical activity. Thus, targeted programs encouraging adoption and maintenance of health-promoting physical activity might be warranted, specifically targeting individuals with familial history of disease.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      CCLS (Cooper Center Longitudinal Study), CHD (coronary heart disease), FHD (family history of disease), MET (metabolic equivalent)
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