HealthDay News — Light physical activity (PA) is associated with reductions in coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among older women, according to a study published online March 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD, MPH, from the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues examined whether higher levels of light PA were correlated with reduced risks for CHD or CVD in older women (mean age, 78.5 years) in a prospective cohort study. Data were included for 5861 women who were followed for as long as 4.91 years.

The researchers identified 143 CHD events and 570 CVD events. For CHD, the hazard ratios for the highest versus the lowest quartiles of light PA were 0.42 and 0.58 after adjustment for age and race/ethnicity and after additional adjustment for education, current smoking, alcohol consumption, physical functioning, comorbidity, and self-rated health, respectively. For CVD, the corresponding hazard ratios were 0.63 and 0.78. For a one-hour/day increment in light PA, the hazard ratios were 0.86 for CHD and 0.92 for CVD after additional adjustment for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

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“Given the low risks of light PA and the abundance of light movements that are part of everyday life, even in the absence of definitive trial data, it may be prudent to encourage older women to increase light PA to improve their CVD health and reduce the occurrence of CVD events,” the authors write.

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