Heart Failure Risk Reduced in Older Adults with Moderate Physical Activity
In older adults, the risk of heart failure can be cut in half by adherence to key protective lifestyle factors, including modest physical activity, in addition to not smoking and a healthy weight.
Del Gobbo, Liana C. et al. (2015). Contribution of Major Lifestyle Risk Factors for Incident Heart Failure in Older Adults. Journal of American College of Cardiology. 3(7):520-528. doi:10.1016/j.jchf.2015.02.009
The goal of this study was to determine the relative contribution of major lifestyle factors on the development of heart failure (HF) in older adults. Lifestyle factors included 4 dietary patterns (Alternative Healthy Eating Index, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, an American Heart Association 2020 dietary goals score, and a Biologic pattern, which was constructed using previous knowledge of cardiovascular disease dietary risk factors), 4 physical activity metrics (exercise intensity, walking pace, energy expended in leisure activity, and walking distance), alcohol intake, smoking, and obesity.
Walking pace and leisure activity were associated with a 26% and 22% lower risk of HF, respectively (pace >3 mph vs. <2 mph; hazard ratio [HR]: 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.63 to 0.86; leisure activity ≥845 kcal/week vs. <845 kcal/week; HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.87). Modest alcohol intake, maintaining a body mass index <30 kg/m2, and not smoking were also independently associated with a lower risk of HF. Participants with ≥4 healthy lifestyle factors had a 45% (HR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.42 to 0.74) lower risk of HF.