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Inactivity in women over 30 a greater health risk than smoking
New research from the Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health at the University of Queensland shows that physical inactivity has become the greatest health risk factor for women over 30 – posing more of a threat than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.
The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, tracked the health of more than 30,000 Australian women looking at their heart disease risk and what conditions contributed to risk throughout different ages and population groups.
With previous research having resulted in the knowledge that high body weight, smoking, high blood pressure and physical inactivity are all risk factors for heart disease, this new reseach specifically looked at how these risk factors changed over the lifespan of Australian women.
The researchers concluded that from approximately the age of 30, the risk of heart disease caused by inactivity is greater than other risk factors. The conservative estimate in Australia is that over 3,000 lives would be saved if women in the age group and beyond added exercise and activity into their lives.
University of Queensland Professor Wendy Brown said the research showed women needed to move more, stating “continuing efforts to encourage people to stop smoking are warranted, but much more emphasis should be placed on physical inactivity.
“If all over-30s followed recommended daily exercise guidelines – 150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity – the lives of more than 2,600 middle-aged and older women could be saved each year in Australia alone."
The study is one of the first in developed countries to look at how inactivity affects adult women. It found women’s risk factors for heart disease changed throughout their lives, with smoking having the greatest impact below 30.
Based on their findings, University of Queensland research fellow and co-author Dr Toby Pavey suggested that public health campaigns needed a greater focus on physical activity.
Dr Pavey stated “at the population level, inactivity is the biggest risk factor yet appears to be ignored by the people who make the decisions.
“When you think of the millions spent on smoking cessation, hypertension, pharmaceuticals, we need to promote physical activity."
Dr Pavey said the low levels of physical inactivity in women over 30 could be due to women starting their families later in life. The demands of small children were now falling later.
24th May 2014 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT BACKS WOMEN’S FITNESS INITIATIVES
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15th January 2010 - LES MILLS RELEASES ‘FUTURE OF FITNESS’ RESEARCH
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