Physical inactivity poses a greater risk of heart disease in women over 30 than obesity, high blood pressure or smoking, say health researchers.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports by researchers from University of Queensland, as women get older and more give up, physical inactivity became the dominant influence on heart problems across the study population.
The study indicated that heart disease remains the leading cause of death in high-income countries, and smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and physical inactivity together account for more than half the global prevalence.
It was suggested in the research study that more is needed to be to promote regular exercise in women and keep women active, now and into the future.
The researchers explained that continuing efforts to encourage people to stop smoking are warranted, but much more emphasis should be placed on physical inactivity.
“National programs for the promotion and maintenance of physical activity across the adult lifespan, but especially in young adulthood deserved a much higher public health priority for women than they have now.”
The research was based on evidence gathered in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, which has been tracking the health of more than 32,000 women for 18 years.
A statistical measure called Population Attributable Risk was used to calculate the proportion of heart disease risk attributed to each risk factor at different ages.
The research was conducted by Professor Brown and Dr Toby Pavey from The University of Queensland, and Professor Adrian Bauman from The University of Sydney.