‘After 30 inactivity biggest heart disease risk for women’

9 May 2014

After a woman reaches 30, physical inactivity is the biggest risk factor for heart disease compared to all other well-known dangers, suggests a new study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The researchers wanted to quantify the changing contribution made to a woman’s likelihood of developing heart disease for each of the known top risk factors. These are a high body mass index, smoking, high blood pressure and physical inactivity.

Collectively, these four issues account for over half of the global prevalence of the condition, which is a leading cause of death in many high-income countries.

The research team used the mathematical formula population attributable risk (PAR) to see if the disappearance of a particular risk factor would reduce the amount of people affected by heart disease.

By doing this, analysts discovered that up to the age of 30, smoking was the most significant contributor the the condition, but after this age low levels of physical activity were responsible for higher levels of population risk.

The authors of the report commented: "Our data suggest that national programmes for the promotion and maintenance of physical activity, across the adult lifespan, but especially in young adulthood, deserve to be a much higher public health priority for women than they are now."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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