There is compelling evidence that physical inactivity is responsible for a large proportion of non-communicable diseases. It is estimated that approximately 2 million deaths every year are attributable to physical inactivity. The aim of this study was to measure the association between physical inactivity and hypertension and to explore socioeconomic variations in physical activity in government officials in Sri Lanka.Design and method:
A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 275 senior-officers(SOs) and 760 managerial-assistants(MAs) aged 30–60 years and attached to Public Administration offices in Colombo District in Sri Lanka. Physical activity (PA) was measured using the long version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) validated to the Sri Lankan context. Blood pressure (measured and classified using JNC-7 guidelines) anthropometric indices, biochemical parameters were recorded. Energy utilization of all vigorous and moderated PA, and walking were expressed as metabolic-equivalent-of-task(MET) min per week. A total MET score was calculated and categorized based on IPAQ guidelines.Results:
Of the 1011 respondents 38% (n = 384), 55.6% (n = 562), and 6.4% (n = 65) were involved in low, moderate and high PA levels based on MET scores calculated using MET-mins per week. Of the diagnosed hypertensives, 44.7% (n = 106), and 49.4% (n = 117) reported a low and moderate PA and considering non-hypertensives, 35.9% (n = 278), 57.5% (n = 445) reported a low and moderate activity levels respectively. After adjusting for potential confounding factors being physically inactive was associated with a higher risk of hypertension [incident rate ratio (IRR) 1.33 [95% CI 1.07, 1.65]. Socio-economic variations in PA levels were observed as, 58.1% (n = 158) senior-officers were involved in inadequate PA, whereas among the managerial assistants only 30.6% (n = 226) were in the above category.Conclusions:
Physical inactivity was associated with hypertension and prevalent among both SOs and MAs. Longitudinal studies are required to provide a causative association between physical inactivity and hypertension among these employees.