BACKGROUND: Little is known about the relationship between physical functional health and long-term risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) independently of known risk factors in a general population.
METHODS: Men and women aged 40-79 years at baseline who completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire and attended a health examination during 1993-97 participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk who were free of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and cancer were included. Eighteen months later, physical functional health was assessed using physical component summary (PCS) scores of Short-Form 36-item questionnaire (SF-36). The incidence of CHD was ascertained by death certification and hospital record linkage up to March 2008.
RESULTS: A total of 14,222 men and women were included in the study. There were 389 incident CHD (total person-years = 126,896 years). People who reported better physical functional health had significantly lower risk of CHD. Using Cox proportional hazard models adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diabetes, family history of MI, social class and aspirin usage, it was found that men and women who were in the top quartile of SF-36 PCS had half the risk of CHD [relative risk (RR) = 0.46; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.32-0.65] compared with the people in the bottom quartile. The relationships remained essentially unchanged after excluding incident CHD within the first 2 years of follow-up (RR = 0.48; 95% CI = 0.33-0.70).
CONCLUSIONS: Physical functional health predicts subsequent CHD risk independently of known risk factors in a general population. People with poor physical functional health may benefit from targeted preventive interventions.
- coronary heart disease
- physical functional health
- Short-Form 36 (SF-36)
- physical component summary score
- activity questionnaire