Greater Leisure-Time Physical Activity Is Associated with Lower Allostatic Load in Midlife Women: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004

Dawn Upchurch, University of California, Los Angeles

The purpose of this study was to investigate the contributions of leisure-time physical activity on level of allostatic load among midlife women. Data were from the NHANES, 1999-2004. All analyses were weighted. Negative binomial regression was used. Models were also computed to estimate adjusted predicted allostatic load for given levels of physical activity, and by race/ethnicity for each age category. Higher levels of physical activity were significantly associated with lower levels of allostatic load, independent of demographics. Compared to White women ages 40-44, all other racial/ethnic-by-age groups had significantly higher allostatic load. Higher socioeconomic status (SES) was associated with lower allostatic load. Adjusted prediction models demonstrated beneficial effects of physical activity on allostatic load regardless of level of activity for all ages and racial/ethnic groups. Findings suggest physical activity may ameliorate the effects of cumulative physiological dysregulation and subsequent disease burden in midlife women.

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Presented in Session 218: Health Behaviors and Health Care Utilization