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PLoS One 7:e39518.
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada
BACKGROUND: Although the benefits of physical activity in preventing chronic medical conditions are well established, its impacts on infectious diseases, and seasonal influenza in particular, are less clearly defined. We examined the association between physical activity and influenza-coded outpatient visits, as a proxy for influenza infection.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted a cohort study of Ontario respondents to Statistics Canada’s population health surveys over 12 influenza seasons. We assessed physical activity levels through survey responses, and influenza-coded physician office and emergency department visits through physician billing claims. We used logistic regression to estimate the risk of influenza-coded outpatient visits during influenza seasons. The cohort comprised 114,364 survey respondents who contributed 357,466 person-influenza seasons of observation. Compared to inactive individuals, moderately active (OR 0.83; 95% CI 0.74-0.94) and active (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.77-0.98) individuals were less likely to experience an influenza-coded visit. Stratifying by age, the protective effect of physical activity remained significant for individuals
CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Moderate to high amounts of physical activity may be associated with reduced risk of influenza for individuals 65 years. Future research should use laboratory-confirmed influenza outcomes to confirm the association between physical activity and influenza.
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