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Physical activity, adiposity, stress-induced inflammation, and cardiovascular disease risk

Endrighi, R; (2012) Physical activity, adiposity, stress-induced inflammation, and cardiovascular disease risk. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Physical inactivity and adiposity are independent risk factors for several chronic conditions including coronary heart disease. Activity and adiposity also modulate psychophysiological responses to psychosocial stress. Since heightened cardiovascular and inflammatory responses to mental stress predict cardiovascular risk, these two factors may influence cardiovascular risk through modulation of autonomic reactivity to stress. However, experimental evidence to support this hypothesis is scarce. The aim of this project is to investigate the associations between physical activity, adiposity, mental stress and mood and physiological reactivity using naturalistic and controlled laboratory methods. Study one examined the association between self-reported physical activity participation, diurnal cortisol rhythm and mood symptoms in everyday life. Study two used an experimental design to examine the effect of physical activity on mood symptoms and on cardiovascular and inflammatory responses to acute mental stress. Exercise withdrawal was used as a model of physical inactivity to induce mood disturbances in healthy, active participants. Several stress-induced markers relevant in cardiovascular disease were examined including pro-inflammatory factors and cortisol. Study three examined the effect of adiposity on physiological responses to acute mental stress and mood. Weight loss was experimentally induced through caloric restriction in overweight or obese women. Responses to acute stress were compared before and after weight loss. Cardiovascular and inflammatory responses to acute stress were evaluated to establish whether adiposity is associated with a heightened or blunted response. The combination of studies presented in this thesis provides insight into the complex relationships that links behavioural factors such as physical activity with mood and stress. An understanding of the mechanisms involved in the association between adiposity, physical activity and cardiovascular risk is invaluable in informing preventive strategies and health related programmes.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Physical activity, adiposity, stress-induced inflammation, and cardiovascular disease risk
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Keywords:Stress adiposity inflammation psychophysiology
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care

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