No one doubts the positive health effects of regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), but now researchers are finding that even light physical activity can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The latest findings, focused on women age 65 and older, echo revised US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) activity guidelines strongly supported by APTA.
The recent study, published in JAMA Network Open, asked 5,861 women with an average age of 78.5 years to wear a hip accelerometer for a week to establish PA rates, and then tracked rates of later coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) for nearly 5 years. Researchers were particularly interested in the effect of light physical activity (PA)—between 1.6 and 2.9 metabolic equivalent tasks (METs)—on the risk of experiencing CVD and CHD.
Researchers divided the participants into 4 groups based on the average amount of time spent per day in light PA: 36-236 minutes, 235-285 minutes, 286-333 minutes, and 334-617 minutes. They also tracked rates of MVPA, as well as demographic, educational, and health information including the presence of chronic conditions, alcohol consumption, smoker or nonsmoker status, and use of antihypertensive and antilipidemic medications. The population studied was a mix of white (48%), black (33.5%), and Hispanic (17.6%) women.
While adolescents technically get the majority of their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at school, when you consider the fact that school is where adolescents spend most of their time in the first place, the actual proportion of that activity isn’t all that impressive. But then again, neither are the MVPA numbers for just about any other place they spend their waking hours, according to researchers.
Those are just 2 of the findings in a new study that used GPS devices and accelerometers to track exactly where and when MVPA took place among 12- to 16-year-olds. The study, e-published ahead of print in Pediatrics, tracked the activities of 549 adolescents to get a glimpse of how close the group came to meeting public health guidelines for at least 60 minutes of MVPA per day, and where they experienced the activity. Samples were drawn from the Baltimore-Washington and Seattle-King County metropolitan areas, and included 446 census block regions. Half of the participants were female; 31.3% were nonwhite or Hispanic.