Originally published February 3 2009
Two Important Ways to Lower Risk of Heart Failure
by Reuben Chow
(NaturalNews) A man who is obese and inactive can have a risk of getting heart failure which is as much as three times that of a lean and active counterpart, a study conducted at Brigham and Women`s Hospital has found. And heightened heart failure risk applied not just to obese men, but also to those who were simply overweight.
Details of Study
The large prospective cohort study was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and was led by Satish Kenchaiah, MD. The study team had made use of data of 21,091 men from the Physician`s Health Study. The men were aged 40 to 84 at the start of the study (mean age of 53) and did not have any known heart disease. From the commencement of the study in 1982, the study subjects filled in annual health surveys, and occurrence of heart failure was tracked from that year to 2007.
Excess Weight Raises Heart Failure Risk
The study found that there was an 11% increase in risk of heart failure per increase of 1-kg/m2 in body mass index (BMI). In addition, with lean study subjects (BMI <25 kg/m2) as the base group, it was found that overweight men (BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2) had a 49% higher risk of heart failure, while men who were obese (BMI 30 kg/m2) experienced a 180% higher risk.
"Whereas previous studies have established that obese men have a higher likelihood of developing heart failure, the present investigation has extended this knowledge by pointing out that even overweight or pre-obese men are not spared from this increased risk," said Dr Kenchaiah.
Lack of Vigorous Physical Activity Also Raises Heart Failure Risk
Further, undertaking vigorous physical activity offered an 18% reduction in heart failure risk. The research team had defined "vigorous physical activity" as a dichotomous variable - the men were either "active", which meant they undertook exercise that caused sweating 1 to 3 times each month, or "inactive", which meant rare or no occurrences of such activity.
With more exercise, the protective effects were enhanced. In comparing men who exercised vigorously 5 to 7 times each week to men who did not have such physical activity at all, the former group had a 36% lower risk of heart failure.
Combined Effect of Healthy Weight and Vigorous Physical Activity
Using men who were both physically active and lean as the base group, the risk of heart failure was higher for all the other groups by the following respective amounts:
* lean and inactive - 19%
* overweight and active - 49%
* overweight and inactive - 78%
* obese and active - 168%
* obese and inactive - 293%
Significantly, it was also found that weight and physical activity did not seem to influence each other`s impact on heart failure risk. In other words, whether you are heavy or light, exercise helps, while whether or not you exercise, being heavier heightens your risk. "Higher [body mass index] increased the risk of heart failure in active and inactive men. By the same token, the beneficial effect of vigorous physical activity in reducing the risk of heart failure was observed in lean, overweight, and also obese men," said Dr Kenchaiah.
Bottom line? To reduce your risk of heart failure, keep lean, and exercise regularly often. Both are important, although, between the two, the figures seem to imply that maintaining healthy weight offers more pronounced protection against heart failure.
Body Mass Index and Vigorous Physical Activity and the Risk of Heart Failure Among Men (http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abst...)
Inactivity Increases Heart Failure Risk at All Weight Levels (http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/CHF/1...)
About the authorReuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth. His website, All 4 Natural Health, offers a basic guide on natural health information. It details simple, effective and natural ways, such as the use of nutrition, various herbs, herb remedies, supplements and other natural remedies, to deal with various health conditions as well as to attain good health. His other websites also cover topics such as depression help, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as cancer research and information.
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