medwireNews: The PURE study shows that the cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality risk reductions attainable with regular physical activity apply regardless of whether people live in countries with high, middle, or low income.
As reported in The Lancet, Scott Lear (Providence Health Care, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) and colleagues found a dose–response relationship between physical activity – whether leisure time or occupational – and major CVD, mortality, and the two combined. They used data from 130,843 people without pre-existing CVD from 17 countries, who were followed up for an average of 6.9 years.
The largest gain was for people doing moderate physical activity – the equivalent of 150–750 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, who reduced their risk for CVD and death by 15% to 20%, compared with people who did less exercise. And there was a further, albeit smaller, risk reduction for those doing high levels of physical activity.
The authors of a linked commentary say this large effect from meeting guidelines recommendations “provides an encouraging message.”
In low and lower-middle income countries, CVD can tip people over the poverty threshold, say Shifalika Goenka (Indian Institute of Public Health, New Delhi, India) and I-Min Lee (Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA). But the findings confirm that moderate, guideline-recommended levels of physical activity reduce CVD risk, in addition to which it is known to reduce the risk for diabetes and cancer and, in the case of active transport, offer environmental benefits.
“It is rare to find an intervention that has such powerful and far-reaching benefits across so many spheres,” they say.
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