The purpose of this study was to analyze factors associated with physical activity (PA) and to identify perceived barriers and benefits of PA among patients with hypothyroidism on thyroid hormone therapy.
This survey-based cross-sectional study was conducted among members of the Dutch thyroid patient organization. Self-reported data on respondents’ PA levels and demographic, clinical, and physical health variables were collected. Moreover, perceived barriers and benefits to PA were identified. Respondents were categorized as physically active when meeting the recommended Dutch PA guidelines and physically inactive otherwise. To compare physically active and inactive respondents, potential confounders were entered into univariate analyses. Factors showing significant correlations (P < .20) were added to a multivariate model to determine the associated factors of PA.
About 1724 female respondents (mean age 53.0 [11.6] y) were included; 16.1% reported meeting the PA recommendations. Multivariate analysis showed that factors associated with PA included levothyroxine/liothyronine therapy, comorbidities, self-perceived physical fitness, and diminished physical endurance. Overall, physically related barriers to PA were rated highest.
The vast majority of treated hypothyroid respondents are physically inactive and experience long-term exercise intolerance. Considering the health implications of physical inactivity, promotion of regular PA is of key importance in this population.