Even Small Amount of Exercise Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Quantitative data shows dose-response relationship between amount of physical activity and risk

TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A dose-response relationship is seen between leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, with significant reductions seen with less than or equivalent to 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity LTPA and additional risk reductions for those engaging in activity equivalent to 300 minutes/week, according to a meta-analysis published online Aug. 1 in Circulation.

Jacob Sattelmair, Sc.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues reviewed available literature between 1995 and 2009 to quantify the dose-response relationship between LTPA and risk of CHD. Based on the 2008 U.S. physical activity guidelines, the first two doses of physical activity were assigned and relative risk (RR) for CHD calculated. A total of 33 studies were included in the pooled dose-response estimates. Quantitative estimates of LTPA were available for nine studies.

The investigators found that, compared to individuals reporting no LTPA, those engaged in equivalent of 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity LTPA (corresponding to recommended minimum amount) had a 14 percent lower CHD risk (RR, 0.86). A 20 percent lower CHD risk was observed in individuals engaged in the equivalent of 300 minutes/week (corresponding to additional benefit amount) of moderate intensity LTPA (RR, 0.80). Higher physical activity levels correlated with modestly lower relative risks. Individuals who had physical activity levels lower than the recommended minimum also had a significantly lower risk of CHD. A significant interaction by gender was observed, with a stronger correlation among women than men.

"These findings provide quantitative data supporting U.S. physical activity guidelines that stipulate that 'some physical activity is better than none,' and 'additional benefits occur with more physical activity,'" the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the health care industry.

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