(HealthDay News) – Males who are fit in late adolescence are less likely to have a myocardial infarction (MI) later in life, according to research published in the January issue of the European Heart Journal.

Gabriel Högström, of Umeå University in Sweden, and colleagues followed a cohort of 743,498 men to examine the association between physical fitness at age 18 and risk of myocardial infarction later in life.

The researchers found that, at a median follow-up of 34 years, after multivariable adjustment, one standard deviation increase in the level of physical fitness in late adolescence was associated with a decreased risk of 18% for MI later in life. This reduced risk was significant across all groups categorized by body mass index (BMI), but obese men (BMI >30kg/m²) in the highest quartile of physical fitness had a higher risk of MI than lean men (BMI <18.5kg/m²) in the lowest and highest quartiles of physical fitness.

“We report a significant graded association between aerobic fitness in late adolescence and MI later in life in men,” the authors write. “However, obese men with a high aerobic fitness had a higher risk of MI than lean men with a low aerobic fitness.”

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