Take Note Brisk walking, non-consumption of alcohol reduce chances of developing heart failure

Lead author, Liana Del Gobbo, said based on the findings, optimizing a few healthy lifestyle factors can cut heart failure risk in half.

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A new study has found that older people who walk briskly, are moderately active in their free time, drink moderately, don’t smoke and avoid obesity may be half as likely to develop heart failure as people who don't engage in these healthy habits.

Lead author, Liana Del Gobbo, said based on the findings, optimizing a few healthy lifestyle factors can cut heart failure risk in half.

Gobbo further said a key finding of the study is that physical activity among older adults does not have to be strenuous to reduce heart failure risk.

For the new study, researchers followed 4,490 men and women age 65 and older without initial signs of heart failure, and the average age at the start of the study was 72.

For up to 21 years, with annual physical exams and questionnaires, the researchers collected data on study subjects’ diet, walking pace and distance, leisure activity, exercise intensity, alcohol use, smoking status, weight and waist circumference.

During the study, 1,380 people developed heart failure.

Lower heart risk failure was tied to walking “briskly”, taking part in calorie-burning leisure activities, modest alcohol intake of no more than one or two drinks per day, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

Those who optimized at least four of these factors were half as likely to develop heart failure as those who only optimized zero or one of the factors.

The researchers accounted for other factors, like socioeconomic status, that could affect heart failure risk, and specific dietary pattern was not tied to heart failure risk, while exercise intensity was less important than walking pace and leisure activity.

High salt intake was also attributed to increased risk of heart failure.

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