Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Lipid profile in men and women with different levels of sports participation and physical activity

Tineke Scheersa1, Renaat Philippaertsa2a3, Leen Van Langendoncka3, William Duqueta3a4, Nathalie Duvigneauda3a4, Lynn Mattona1a3, Martine Thomisa1a3, Katrien Wijndaelea2a3 and Johan Lefevrea1a3 c1

a1 Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium

a2 Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

a3 Policy Research Centre Sport, Physical Activity and Health, Leuven, Belgium

a4 Faculty of Physical Education and Physical Therapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium


Objective The purpose of the present study was to analyse the lipid profile in men and women differentiated according to energy expenditure during sports participation (EESPORT), energy expenditure during active leisure time (EEALT) and overall energy expenditure (EETOTAL).

Design The subjects were grouped by sex, age, EESPORT, EEALT and EETOTAL. Group differences were analysed using analyses of covariance with BMI and alcohol consumption as covariates.

Setting Physical activity was assessed using the Flemish Physical Activity Computerised Questionnaire. Fasting blood samples were taken to measure total cholesterol (TC), TAG, HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and the ratio TC:HDL-C.

Subjects The study sample consisted of 1170 Flemish men and women between 18 and 75 years of age.

Results Differences in lipid profile were observed in the younger age group (<45 years), all in favour of the most active group. More specifically, when differentiating by EEALT and EETOTAL, men had a healthier lipid profile for TAG, HDL-C and TC:HDL-C. Differentiation according to EESPORT revealed the same significant results except for TAG. In women significant results for HDL-C, LDL-C and TC:HDL-C were found when differentiated by EESPORT.

Conclusions Men and women <45 years of age with higher levels of energy expenditure due to sport show a better lipid profile than their sedentary counterparts. When differentiating subjects according to energy expenditure during active leisure time or overall energy expenditure, only in men was a healthier lipid profile observed in favour of the most active subjects.

(Received February 10 2007)

(Accepted September 26 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Email