Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Dr. Rodney Lyn


Background: Hypertension is synonymous with high blood pressure, where blood exerts a great force on the arterial walls. Smoking cigarettes is known to cause negative health outcomes, specifically increase blood pressure. Adversely, physical activity is known to provide many health benefits, including the reduction of blood pressure. This study examines the impact of physical activity on the association between smoking and hypertension. Methods: Using secondary data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008, demographics of the population were described via descriptive statistics. Regressions were run using different models, controlling for various variables (age, ethnicity, sex, poverty to income ratio (PIR), body mass index (BMI), and interaction (smoking x physical activity)) to determine the association between smoking and hypertension. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine statistical significance throughout all the analyses performed. Results: In total, 10,149 cases were included in the study analysis. 10.9% of the cases were smokers, 48.1% were physically activity, and 28.6% were hypertensive. OR’s for the various models observing smoking and hypertension were 1.48 (1.29, 1.69), 1.42 (1.22, 1.65), 1.37 (1.12, 1.67), and 1.36 (1.10, 1.68). In the final model which controlled for all variables including the interaction term, the OR was 1.12 (0.47, 2.67). Conclusions: Smokers had significantly higher rates of hypertension in all the models. The final model which observed smokers who were physical active found that the relationship between smoking and hypertension was no longer significant. This study suggests physical activity as a mode of intervention to reduce blood pressure in smokers.