Posted on Oct 07, 2010, 6 a.m.
Risk of developing heart failure drops steadily as the level of physical activity at work increases.
A large-scale study reveals that the risk of developing heart failure drops steadily as the level of physical activity at work increases. Gang Hu, from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Louisiana, USA), and colleagues assessed the levels of occupational, commuting, and leisure-time physical activity in 28,334Finnish men and 29,874 Finnish women, ages 25 to 74 years, who participated in population surveys conducted in Finland starting in the early 1970s and did not have heart failure at the study’s start. After a mean follow-up of 18.4 years, heart failure developed in 1,868 men and 1,640 women. The researchers observed that, after adjusting for confounding factors, there was a significant overall trend for lower risk of heart failure associated with increasing levels of physical activity at work. This association was particularly significant for men who had high levels of occupational activity and women who had moderate levels of the same. Additionally, the team found strong associations for both moderate and high levels of leisure-time physical activity among both the male and female subjects, and among women there was some evidence that either walking or biking to work may reduce the risk of heart failure as well. Overall, those subjects who engaged in high levels of more than one type of physical activity had greater reductions in heart failure risk. Among those who had high levels of all three types of physical activity -- at work, while commuting, and during leisure time, heart failure risk was slashed by 31% of men and 34% of women. The team concludes that: “Moderate and high levels of occupational or leisure-time physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of [heart failure].”
Y Wang, J Tuomilehto, P Jousilahti, R Antikainen, Markku Mahonen, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Gang Hu. "Occupational, commuting, and leisure-time physical activity in relation to heart failure among Finnish men and women" J Am Coll Cardiol 2010; 56: 1140-1148.