An observational study was conducted in more than 5,000 people aged 55 years and older who were followed-up for 15 years.
The benefits of physical activity may outweigh the impact of overweight and obesity on cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and elderly people, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
“Overweight and obesity is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and it is recommended to lose weight,” said author Dr Klodian Dhana, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “But in the elderly this is slightly different because weight loss, especially unintentional, is associated with muscle loss and death.”
The study included 5,344 individuals aged 55 to 97 years of age (average 70 years) who participated in the Rotterdam Study and were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline. Information about BMI, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, diet, education, and family history of premature heart attack was collected during the enrolment period in 1997 to 2001.
During the 15 year follow-up, 16% of participants had a cardiovascular event. When analysed alone, physical activity was associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of BMI category. There was no association between BMI alone and cardiovascular disease.