Introduction: Leisure time physical activity (LTPA) has been associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and cardiometabolic health, but whether it is related to HDL subspecies remains unknown.
Methods: Of 1,704 women and 1,467 men aged 35-74 free of cardiovascular diseases and participated in the ELSA-Brasil, we assessed LTPA in relation to HDL subspecies. Being active was defined according to AHA’s recommendation (≥ 150 min/wk moderate/75 min/wk vigorous activities). Particle concentrations of HDL subspecies (small to large: H1P-H7P) were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine sex-specific associations of LTPA with HDL subspecies. We then conducted a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) combining all subspecies. Interactions of LTPA with BMI and alcohol intake were also examined.
Results: In total, 342 women and 390 men were classified as active. Adjusting for covariates, we found significant associations for several HDL subspecies. Specifically, the active women and men tended to have 0.23 μmol/L (95% CI: [0.04, 0.41], P=0.02) and 0.19 μmol/L higher (95% CI:[0.05, 0.33], P=0.01) levels of large HDL particles, compared to their inactive counterparts. The mean H6P level was 0.19 μmol/L higher (95% CI: [0.05, 0.34], P=0.01) in the active women and 0.09 μmol/L higher (95% CI: [0.01, 0.17], P=0.03) in the active men. The active women had a 0.06 μmol/L higher mean H7P level than the inactive women (95% CI: [0.02, 0.10], P=0.004). MANOVA suggested that overall HDL profiles were different between the active and inactive men (P=0.005). We also found evidence for interactions of LTPA with alcohol intake and BMI (Figure).
Conclusion: We observed favorable effects of LTPA on HDL subspecies of larger particle sizes in women and men. Although the mechanisms remained to be clarified, these findings provide critical insight into linking LTPA to cardiometabolic health via HDL profiles..