Physical activity, vitamin D, and incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in whites and blacks: The ARIC study

Kathleen Chin, Di Zhao, Martin Tibuakuu, Seth S. Martin, Chiadi E. Ndumele, Roberta Florido, B. Gwen Windham, Eliseo Guallar, Pamela L. Lutsey, Erin D. Michos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Physical activity (PA) is associated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels. Both are associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), but their joint association with ASCVD risk is unknown. Objective: To examine the relationship between PA and 25(OH)D, and assess effect modification of 25(OH)D and PA with ASCVD. Design: Cross-sectional and prospective study. Setting: Community-dwelling cohort. Participants: A total of 10,342 participants free of ASCVD, with moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA assessed (1987 to 1989) and categorized per American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines (recommended, intermediate, or poor). Main Outcome Measures: Serum 25(OH)D levels (1990 to 1992) and ASCVD events (i.e., incident myocardial infarction, fatal coronary disease, or stroke) through 2013. Results: Participants had mean age of 54 years, and were 57% women, 21% black, 30% 25(OH)D deficient [<20 ng/mL (<50 nmol/L)], and <40% meeting AHA-recommended PA. PA was linearly associated with 25(OH)D levels in whites. Whites meeting recommended PA were 37% less likely to have 25(OH)D deficiency [relative risk, 0.63 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56, 0.71)]; there was no significant association in blacks. Over 19.3 years of follow-up, 1800 incident ASCVD events occurred. Recommended PA was associated with reduced ASCVD risk [hazard ratio [HR], 0.78 (95% CI, 0.65, 0.93) and 0.76 (95% CI, 0.62, 0.93)] among participants with intermediate [20 to <30 ng/mL (50 to <75 nmol/L)] and optimal [≥30 ng/mL (≥75 nmol/L)] 25(OH)D, respectively, but not among those with deficient 25(OH)D (P for interaction = 0.04). Conclusion: PA is linearly associated with higher 25(OH)D levels in whites. PA and 25(OH)D may have synergistic beneficial effects on ASCVD risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1227-1236
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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