Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inactivity a greater heart risk than obesity, study finds

Inactivity a greater heart risk than obesity, study finds Never mind what the bathroom scales are saying and take a brisk walk: That's the message that emerges from a new study that shows that, when it comes to heart health, it's more important to be active than thin. The research, conducted exclusively on women, found that those who were fittest were least likely to have clogged arteries, had the fewest heart attacks and had far fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The same associations did not hold true based on women's weight, or body mass index. (BMI is an approximation of body fat.) "Lack of physical fitness is a stronger risk factor for developing heart disease than being overweight or obese," said Timothy Wessel, a cardiologist at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Fla. He said the link between BMI and heart disease remains unclear, particularly in women. Dr. Wessel said the problem is that most obesity studies have not adequately measured physical activity and many studies of physical fitness have excluded women with known or suspected coronary heart disease. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted on 906 women who were prescribed a coronary angiography - a test that measures blockages in the arteries of the heart. Practically speaking, that meant many already had a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease

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