Activity Level Predicts Heart Disease in Women

by Joy Keller on Jul 31, 2008

New research suggests that a woman’s level of physical activity is a better sign than body weight of existing coronary artery disease and future heart problems. The study, which appeared in the September 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292 [10], 1179–87), examined 906 women who had chest pain, suspected narrowing of the coronary arteries, or both. Researchers calculated each woman’s body mass index (BMI), and patients were categorized as normal weight, overweight or obese. In addition, the women answered a questionnaire that assessed their physical activity levels and abilities.

In all, 76% of the participants were classified as overweight and 41% of those as obese. Low physical activity levels were reported by 70% of the women. The researchers detected no difference in the presence or severity of disease for women in different weight categories. However, a significant association emerged between low physical activity level and the existence of obstructive coronary artery disease.

Researchers concluded that low physical activity was a good indicator of future heart problems. Women who were at least moderately active had a lower risk of adverse cardiovascular events than women with a low physical activity level, no matter which weight category they were in.

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About the Author

Joy Keller

Joy Keller IDEA Author/Presenter

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master. Joy joined IDEA Health & Fitness Association in 2002, and brought with her a wealth of information about how to fine-tune communication channels, after having spent her formative career years specializing in business-to-business journalism. Before she even graduated with honors from the respected University of Georgia journalism school, Joy was offered a job at one of the most successful trade publishing companies in the southeast, Shore Varrone, Inc. She made her mark in the automotive aftermarket industry as a creative thinker and journalist with an intuitive knack for researching and understanding niche audiences. Joy has worked on several titles, including Auto Trim & Restyling News, Truck Accessory News, Digital Output Magazine, Retail & Construction News, Miata magazine, Ford Racing, and many more. Her passion, however, lies with health and fitness. She was the associate editor of ACE Certified News while working at the American Council on Exercise, and transitioned that publication from a newsletter to a magazine. She has enjoyed 16 years at IDEA, where she has launched several publications, including the award-winning Inner IDEA Body-Mind Spirit Review, IDEA Pilates Today and IDEA Fit Business Success. Joy is a content creator and media 2.0 advocate who takes pride in discovering the unique information needs of qualified audiences, and she is dedicated to serving those needs while following the highest available standards.