From the age of 30 onwards, physical inactivity exerts a greater impact on a woman’s lifetime risk of developing heart disease than the other well-known risk factors, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. This includes overweight, the finding show, prompting the researchers to suggest that greater effort needs to be made to promote exercise.
The researchers wanted to quantify the changing contribution made to a woman’s likelihood of developing heart disease across her lifetime for each of the known top four risk factors: excess weight (high BMI); smoking; high blood pressure; and physical inactivity.
Together, these four risk factors account for over half the global prevalence of heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in high income countries.
The researchers found that up to the age of 30, smoking was the most important contributor to heart disease. But from age 30 until the late 80s, low physical activity levels were responsible for higher levels of population risk than any of the other risk factors.
Source: BMJ-British Medical Journal. “From age 30 onwards, inactivity has greatest impact on women’s lifetime heart disease risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2014.