Physical activity and medicine use: Evidence from a population-based study

Andrea D. Bertoldi, Pedro C. Hallal, Aluisio J.D. Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few studies have investigated the association between physical activity practice and medicine use; data from these studies are inconsistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between level of physical activity and medicine use in adults aged 20 years or more. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out in the first semester of 2002 in the urban area of Pelotas; a medium-sized Southern Brazilian city. Physical activity was assessed with the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. A physical activity score was created as the weekly time spent in moderate-intensity activities plus twice the weekly time spent in vigorous-intensity activities. Medicine use in the 15 days prior to the interview was also assessed. Adjusted analyses taking into account the sampling design was carried out using Poisson regression. Wald tests for heterogeneity and linear trend were used to calculate significance. Results: Out of the 3,182 individuals interviewed, 41% were not sufficiently active according to current physical activity guidelines. Only 34% of the subjects did not use medicines in the previous 15 days, and 18% used three or more drugs in the same period. Level of physical activity was inversely associated with the number of medicines used both in the crude and in the adjusted analyses. Conclusion: There are well-documented benefits of physical activity for several chronic diseases in the literature. Data from the present study suggest that medicine use is also positively affected by physical activity behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number224
JournalBMC public health
StatePublished - Sep 6 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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