University of Oulu

Niemelä, O.; Bloigu, A.; Bloigu, R.; Halkola, A.S.; Niemelä, M.; Aalto, M.; Laatikainen, T. Impact of Physical Activity on the Characteristics and Metabolic Consequences of Alcohol Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Population-Based Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 15048.

Impact of physical activity on the characteristics and metabolic consequences of alcohol consumption : a cross-sectional population-based study

Saved in:
Author: Niemelä, Onni1; Bloigu, Aini2; Bloigu, Risto3;
Organizations: 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical Research Unit, Seinäjoki Central Hospital and Tampere University, 60220 Seinäjoki, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, 90570 Oulu, Finland
3Infrastructure for Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, 90570 Oulu, Finland
4Department of Anesthesiology, Oulu University Hospital, 90220 Oulu, Finland
5Department of Psychiatry, Seinäjoki Central Hospital and Tampere University, 33100 Tampere, Finland
6Department of Public Health and Social Welfare, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), 00271 Helsinki, Finland
7Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, 70210 Kuopio, Finland
8Joint Municipal Authority for North Karelia Social and Health Services, 80210 Joensuu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-04-26


Sedentary lifestyle and excessive alcohol drinking are major modifiable risk factors of health. In order to shed further light on the relationships between physical activity and health consequences of alcohol intake, we measured biomarkers of liver function, inflammation, lipid status and fatty liver index tests in a large population-based sample of individuals with different levels of physical activity, alcohol drinking and other lifestyle risk factors. The study included 21,050 adult participants (9940 men, 11,110 women) (mean age 48.2 ± 13.3 years) of the National FINRISK Study. Data on physical activity, alcohol drinking, smoking and body weight were recorded. The participants were classified to subgroups according to gender, levels of physical activity (sedentary, low, moderate, vigorous, extreme), alcohol drinking levels (abstainers, moderate drinkers, heavy drinkers) and patterns (regular or binge, types of beverages preferred in consumption). Serum liver enzymes (GGT, ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipid profiles were measured using standard laboratory techniques. Physical activity was linearly and inversely related with the amount of alcohol consumption, with the lowest alcohol drinking levels being observed in those with vigorous or extreme activity (p < 0.0005). Physically active individuals were less frequently binge-type drinkers, cigarette smokers or heavy coffee drinkers than those with sedentary activity (p < 0.0005 for linear trend in all comparisons). In the General Linear Model to assess the main and interaction effects of physical activity and alcohol consumption on biomarker status, as adjusted for anthropometric measures, smoking and coffee consumption, increasing levels of physical activity were found to be associated with more favorable findings on serum GGT (p < 0.0005), ALT (p < 0.0005 for men), cholesterol (p = 0.025 for men; p < 0.0005 for women), HDL-cholesterol (p < 0.0005 for men, p = 0.001 for women), LDL-cholesterol (p < 0.03 for men), triglycerides (p < 0.0005 for men, p < 0.03 for women), CRP (p < 0.0005 for men, p = 0.006 for women) and fatty liver index (p < 0.0005). The data support the view that regular moderate to vigorous physical activity may counteract adverse metabolic consequences of alcohol consumption on liver function, inflammation and lipid status. The role of physical activity should be further emphasized in interventions aimed at reducing health problems related to unfavorable risk factors of lifestyle.

see all

Series: International journal of environmental research and public health
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN-E: 1660-4601
ISSN-L: 1661-7827
Volume: 19
Issue: 22
Article number: 15048
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph192215048
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This work was supported in part by Competitive State Research Financing of the Expert Responsibility area of Seinäjoki Central Hospital and University of Tampere, VTR 5300/3116, the Finnish Foundation for the Promotion of Laboratory Medicine and the Finnish Foundation of Clinical Chemistry.
Dataset Reference: THL Biobank administrates and grants access to the FINRISK data to research projects that are of high scientific quality and impact, are ethically conducted, and that correspond with the research areas of THL Biobank. All data are available for application at en/web/thl-biobank/for-researchers/sample-collections/the-national-finrisk-study-1992-2012. The name of dataset is the National FINRISK Study 1992–2012. Interested researchers can replicate our study findings in their entirety by directly obtaining the data and following the protocol in the Methods section. The authors did not have any special access privileges that others would not have. More information: finriski(at)
Copyright information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licens.