OBJECTIVE: To investigate the joint association between self-reported physical activity as well as cardiorespiratory fitness and self-rated health among healthy women and men. METHOD: Data from 10,416 participants in The Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-2008 which took part in 13 Danish municipalities were analyzed. Leisure time physical activity level and self-rated health were based on self-reported questionnaire data. Optimal self-rated health was defined as "very good" or "good" self-rated health. Cardiorespiratory fitness (mL O2·min(-1)·kg(-1)) was estimated from maximal power output in a maximal cycle exercise test. RESULTS: A strong dose-response relation between cardiorespiratory fitness and self-rated health as well as between physical activity level and self-rated health among both women and men was found. Within categories of physical activity, odds ratios for optimal self-rated health increased with increasing categories of cardiorespiratory fitness, and vice versa. Hence, participants who were moderately/vigorously physically active and had a high cardiorespiratory fitness had the highest odds ratio for optimal self-rated health compared with sedentary participants with low cardiorespiratory fitness (odds ratio=12.2, 95% confidence interval: 9.3-16.1). CONCLUSION: Although reluctant to conclude on causality, this study suggests that an active lifestyle as well as good cardiorespiratory fitness probably increase self-rated health.
Preventive Medicine, 2013, Vol 57, Issue 6, p. 900-2