Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity to Cardiovascular Disease Prevalence in Relation to Smoking among Adult Nevadans

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It is well known that cigarette smoking and physical activity have significant impacts on cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and morbidity. Meanwhile, it is of interest to understand whether physical activity protects against CVD for smokers in a similar manner as it does for non-smokers. The present study examined how leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) is associated with the prevalence of CVD in relation to smoking status among adult Nevadans, using data from the 2010 Nevada Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Of the 3,913 survey respondents, 8.5% self-reported that they had ever been diagnosed with CVD. People with a history of CVD were significantly less likely to engage in LTPA than those with no history of CVD (p < 0.05). After adjusting for common sociodemographic variables, it was revealed that people with CVD were twice more likely to not engage in LTPA than their counterparts independent of smoking status. Without taking LTPA into account, the odds of having CVD for current and former smokers was 1.87–2.25 times higher than the odds for non-smokers. Interestingly, however, if LTPA was accounted for, there was no significant difference in the odds of having CVD between current and non-smokers. These results indicate that LTPA is inversely associated with the prevalence of CVD independent of smoking status, and that regular physical activity may protect against CVD for smokers as well as for non-smokers. Physical activity, along with smoking cessation, should be promoted to better prevent and control CVD among smokers.