Saturday, 10 May 2014

Heart risk for women who shun exercise in their 30s: Inactive almost 50% more likely to develop problems

  • Study finds lack of exercise puts younger women at greater heart attack risk than smokers
  • Inactive women in 30s 50 per cent more likely to develop heart disease
  • Researchers call for public health campaigns on importance of exercise

A lack of exercise puts younger women at far greater risk of heart attacks than smoking or being obese, a major study has found.

Researchers found inactive women in their 30s are almost 50 per cent more likely to develop heart disease in their lifetime than those who are fit.

Now the team has called on governments to launch public health campaigns on the importance of exercise, arguing it would have a far greater impact on reducing heart disease deaths than drives to discourage smoking or promote healthy eating.

The scientists looked at the records of 32,541 women aged 22 to 90, including details about lifestyle and whether they had heart disease.

Armed with this data, they used a mathematical formula to work out their risk of heart disease during their lifetime based on whether they were inactive, were smokers, had high blood pressure or were obese.

A lack of exercise was found to pose the greatest risk to women across all age groups.

Those in their early 30s who were classed as inactive were nearly 50 per cent more likely to suffer from the condition in their lifetime than active women.

The risk decreased slightly with age. Inactive women in their late 40s were 38 per cent more at risk, falling to 28 per cent in the late 50s.

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