The difference in risk of chronic pulmonary disease morbidity and mortality between elite athletes and ordinary men in Finland
Kontro, T. K., Sarna, S., Kaprio, J., & Kujala, U. M. (2020). The difference in risk of chronic pulmonary disease morbidity and mortality between elite athletes and ordinary men in Finland. European Journal of Sport Science, 20(8), 1140-1149. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2019.1697375
Published inEuropean Journal of Sport Science
© 2019 European College of Sport Science
Introduction: The impact of a history of competitive sports on later smoking behavior and occurrence of chronic pulmonary diseases is poorly known. We investigated how a history of elite level sports predicted later pulmonary disease morbidity and mortality. Methods: Chronic pulmonary disease incidence were assessed from national hospital and cause-of-death registers from 1970 to 2015 among Finnish male former elite athletes (n=2078) and matched controls (n=1453) alive in 1970 (mean age 45.0 years). Hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated by Cox proportional hazards model. In 1985, cohort members reported on their smoking habits, engagement in physical activity/sports and physician-diagnosed chronic diseases. Results: The risk of any chronic pulmonary disease or death was lower among former athletes than controls (age-adjusted HR 0.61; 95% CI 0.46-0.83). The risk was significantly lower among endurance (HR 0.54), mixed (HR 0.61), and power sports athletes (HR 0.66) compared to controls. The age- and smoking pack-year-adjusted HRs of incident diseases from the time of the 1985 questionnaire until end of follow-up in former athletes was 0.58 (95% CI 0.37-0.93) compared to controls. In 1985 athletes smoked less and their cumulative smoking quantity was lower than that of controls. Former athletes were more physically active and self-reported less physician-diagnosed emphysema. Conclusions: The risk of any chronic pulmonary disease was lower among former athletes than controls even after considering smoking status and cumulative smoking quantity. Ability to compete at the highest level of sports in young adulthood associates with a reduced risk of pulmonary disease in later life. ...
PublisherTaylor & Francis
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Additional information about fundingThis study was funded by University of Jyväskylä and Helsinki, Urheiluopistosäätiö, and there was no conflict of interests. JK has been supported by the Academy of Finland (grants 265240, 308248, 312073).
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