Research Study Abstract

Association Between Physical Activity and Inflammatory Markers Among U.S. Adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  • Published on Dec. 20, 2013

Purpose: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may cause not only inflammation in the lungs but also systemic effects. One potential strategy to reduce systemic inflammation and attenuate disease progression is physical activity (PA). However, no nationally representative studies, to our knowledge, have examined the association between objectively measured physical activity and inflammation among those with COPD.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2006.

Subjects: Two hundred thirty-eight former or current smokers with self-reported COPD who had complete data on study variables.

Measures: Participants wore an accelerometer for ≥4 days to assess light-intensity PA (LPA), moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), and total physical activity (TPA); completed questionnaires to assess self-reported COPD and smoking status; and had their blood taken to assess white blood cell (WBC) and neutrophil levels.

Analysis: Multivariable linear regression analysis was used.

Results: LPA (β = −.0004), MVPA (β = −.04), and TPA (β = −.0004) were significantly inversely associated with WBC level. Similarly, LPA (β = −.001) and TPA (β = −.001) were significantly inversely associated with neutrophils; however, MVPA was marginally associated with neutrophils (β = −.05; p =.06).

Conclusion: These analyses demonstrate an inverse association between objectively measured PA and inflammation among current or former smokers with COPD. If these findings are confirmed elsewhere, then PA among those with COPD may serve as an anti-inflammatory strategy to possibly decrease cardiovascular and metabolic disease occurrence.


  • Paul D. Loprinzi , PhD
  • Jerome F. Walker, EdD
  • Hyo Lee , PhD



American Journal of Health Promotion


, , ,