Physical Inactivity - The Biggest Risk Factor for Heart Disease in Women Over 30

Adie Blanchard | 2014-08-06 04:51:23

Physical activity has many benefits, not only can it be enjoyable and a great mood booster, but it can also improve health, wellbeing, quality of life and the ability to complete everyday tasks. Recently, research has suggested that physical inactivity may be a huge risk to our health – as if you needed another reason to become more active!

The longitudinal study of over 32,000 Australian women investigated the risks factors for coronary heart disease, including being physically inactive, high body mass index (BMI) and smoking.

Whilst the study found smoking to be the greatest risk of heart disease in those under 30 years of age (implying that smoking cessation may be important at this age), physical inactivity was the greatest for those older than 30, outweighing the other examined risk factors.

This study not only highlights the importance of being active, but especially remaining active as we age which is often where activity levels are seen to decline. Whilst this study relied on self-report data, it cannot determine cause and effect (other variables may also impact the results) and the findings cannot be applied to men (the study only investigated the effects on women), it does provide further support regarding the importance of activity.

There is certainly a growing amount of evidence showing that activity is vital in maintaining and improving health and wellbeing throughout life. Although there are many efforts made worldwide to help people quit smoking and lose weight (consequently lowering BMI) including media coverage of the negative consequences, there is still little to show for the importance of exercise. Promoting the importance of physical activity and the risks associated with physical inactivity cannot be overlooked, which is why it is a primary focus of the One Precious Life philosophy.

Adie Blanchard – Researcher



Brown, W. J., Pavey, T., & Bauman, A. E. (2014). Comparing population attributable risks for heart disease across the adult lifespan in women. British Journal of Sports Medicine.