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Study: Heart failure risk in older women increases with more sedentary time

Walking more and sitting less can reduce heart failure risk in postmenopausal women, new study found. Photo courtesy of American Heart Association 
Walking more and sitting less can reduce heart failure risk in postmenopausal women, new study found. Photo courtesy of American Heart Association 

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Older women have a greater risk of heart failure if they spend more time sitting than those who sit less -- even if they have a regular fitness routine -- a new study found.

Researchers analyzed records for nearly 80,100 postmenopausal women, who were 63 years of age on average, from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, for the study published Tuesday.

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The initiative allowed women to self-report time spent sitting or lying down in waking hours and or moving.

Women who spent less than 6.5 hours a day sitting or lying down in waking hours, had 15% less risk of heart failure hospitalization than women reporting up to 9.5 sedentary hours, and 42% less risk than women reporting more than 9.5 hours sedentary hours, the data showed.

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Analysts gathered data from an average of nine years of follow-up on the women, during which 1,402 women were hospitalized.

For women who sat less than 4.5 hours, risk was 14% less than women who sat up to 9.5 hours, and 54% less than women who sat more than 9.5 hours a day.

The link between sedentary time and heart failure risk remained even in some women who were meeting recommended activity levels but sat more than others -- and after factoring in other risk factors, such as blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and previous heart attack -- researchers noted.

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"Our message is simple: sit less and move more," said study lead author Michael J. LaMonte said in a press release.

"Historically, we have emphasized promoting a physically active lifestyle for heart health ... 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 LaMonte, a research associate at the University at Buffalo in New York.

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