Older Women With Sedentary Lifestyles Face Increased Heart Failure Risk

Older women who spend more time in sedentary behaviors, such as sitting or lying down, are at an increased risk of heart failure, according to a new study published in Circulation: Heart Failure.

Investigators examined records of almost 81,000 postmenopausal women who self-reported amount of time spent daily during waking hours either sitting, lying down, or being physically active. No participants had been diagnosed with heart failure at the beginning of the study.

At a median 9 years of follow-up, 1,402 participants were hospitalized due to heart failure. Compared with women who spent less than 6.5 hours per day sitting or lying down, the risk of heart failure hospitalization was 15% higher in women reporting 6.6-9.5 sedentary hours daily, and 42% higher in women reporting more than 9.5 sedentary hours daily. The association remained after adjusting for known heart failure risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and previous heart attack. The investigators also found that the higher risk of heart failure hospitalization was consistent even among the most active subgroup of women.

“Our message is simple: sit less and move more. Historically, we have emphasized promoting a physically active lifestyle for heart health – and we should continue to do so! However, our study clearly shows that we also need to increase efforts to reduce daily sedentary time and encourage adults to frequently interrupt their sedentary time,” said lead author Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, in a press release.