Study Finds That Most Women With Cardiovascular Disease Do Not Participate In Regular Physical Activity

A new study conducted by scholars at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore finds that for women with cardiovascular disease, more than half do not participate in adequate physical activity. And the percentage of these women who are not active physically has grown over the past decade. The study also found that women with cardiovascular disease who were active physically had healthcare costs that averaged 30 percent less than women who did not follow physical activity guidelines.

According to the American Heart Association, 43 million women have cardiovascular disease. The current study surveyed more than 18,000 women between the ages of 18 and 75 who had some form of cardiovascular disease. Some 61 percent of women who participated in the survey said they did not meet the minimum physical activity guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association. These guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, or at least 30 minutes of brisk movement per day, five days a week.

Researchers also found that women ages 40-64 were the fastest growing age group not getting enough physical activity, with 60 percent reporting not getting enough exercise. They also found that African-American and Hispanic women were more likely to not exercise enough, and women from low-income households who were enrolled in public insurance and had less than a high school education were also more likely to not meet recommended physical activity targets.

“The expense of poor health is tremendous,” says Erin Michos, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the study. “Many high-risk women need encouragement to get more physically active in hopes of living healthier lives while reducing their health care costs.”

The researchers note that there is a need to tailor specific interventions to the most-impacted groups, including older women, women of lower socioeconomic status, and women from minority groups, and to encourage physicians who care for them to more consistently promote cardiac rehabilitation referrals and safe exercise tips.

The full study, “Trends and Costs Associated With Suboptimal Physical Activity Among US Women With Cardiovascular Disease,” was publishing on JAMA Network Open. It may be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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