This week is National Women’s Health Week, and in recognition of this important week today’s post will look at a study in older women, examining the effect of physical activity on coronary heart disease.
A research group performed a prospective cohort study from subjects participating in the Women’s Health Initiative. Nearly 6000 women with an average age of 78 1/2 were enrolled, and were followed for up to five years. These were women without a history of heart attack or stroke.
The activity level of the women was measured by the use of a accelerometer that was worn on the right hip. This device is designed to capture measures of subject activity and mobility. Researchers found that light physical activity was associated with a dose-responsive reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease in this cohort of older women. The results were considered to be statistically significant.
The group with the highest quartile of light physical activity was associated with a 42% reduced risk of heart attack or coronary death, compared to the group with the lowest quartile of light physical activity. Similarly, there was a 22% reduced risk of cardiovascular events in the highest quartile of light physical activity, compared to the lowest quartile of light physical activity group.
This was a well-designed study among a group of older women, a group that is often neglected in medical research. This was also a diverse population, including substantial numbers of black (33.5%) and Hispanic (17.6%) women. It is impressive that encouraging more activity, even of the “light” variety, yielded some very substantial results.
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”– Hippocrates
(Source- JAMA Network Open, 2019, 2(3))
This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.