In spite of the reductions in cardiovascular disease mortality over the last several years, cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S. Prior to menopause, women have approximately 2.5-4.5 times lower risk of cardiovascular disease than do men of a similar age. Within about 10 years following menopause, however, the rate in women becomes similar to that seen in men. Increased cardiorespiratory fitness and use of hormone replacement have been suggested as ways to improve the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profile. Unfortunately, very little is known about the effect of cardiorespiratory fitness on the CVD risk profile in postmenopausal women, and if there is an effect whether this effect is independent of hormone status. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with an improvement in the CVD risks of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, TC/HDL ratio, triglycerides, and fibrinogen, in postmenopausal women. Records of non smoking postmenopausal women who completed a preventive medicine physical examination, in the Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study between 1987 and 1995, were examined. Cardiorespiratory fitness was determined by total treadmill time to exhaustion on a graded exercise test, CVD risk factors were assessed via blood analysis. On cross sectional analysis, fitness was statistically significantly associated with a decrease in total cholesterol (R2 =.08), the total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio (R2 = .12), triglycerides (R2 = .09), and fibrinogen (R2 = .06), and an increase in HDL cholesterol (R2 = .04). All relationships were significant at a p value of <0.005. After statistically controlling for hormone status, age, year of testing, and blood glucose, each CVD risk factor remained significantly associated with cardiorespiratory fitness (p<0.05). This study indicates that cardiorespiratory fitness is an important independent determinant of blood lipid and fibrinogen levels in nonsmoking postmenopausal women.


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Helen P. Hopp

Second Advisor

Glen G. Blix

Third Advisor

Jenifer J. Mason

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Cardiovascular Diseases; Estrogen Replacement Therapy; Exercise; Physical Fitness; Respiratory Therapy.



Page Count

xxi; 110

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives