Researchers have found that the long-term health benefits of physical activity are not moderated by the risks of exposure to levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in an urban setting.
The study looked at 53,113 participants aged between 50-65 years from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort who self-reported physical activity at the time of recruitment from 1997 until 2013, tracking hospital admissions for asthma and COPD to identify a relationship between participation in sport and lung health.
The results showed significant, inverse associations of undertaking physical activity with the risk of asthma and COPD hospitalisations, supporting the view that regular exercise lessens the risk of hospitalisation.
There were however statistically significant, positive associations between exposure to NO2 and risk of asthma and COPD hospitalisations, suggesting exposure does increase risk of hospitalisation, however there was no significant interaction between the two associations, which could suggest that the benefits of physical activity were not moderated by exposure to air pollution.
For further patient information and top tips on how to communicate air pollution risks to your patients, access resources from the European Lung Foundation:
- Infographic: Air pollution risks
- Exercise and air quality: 10 top tips
- Your lungs and exercise
- Outdoor air pollution