Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between physical activity and other determinants of cardiovascular health in aging women from a health-promotion perspective. Participants (N = 206) completed a cardiovascular health-promotion profile, and various physical measures were recorded. The findings suggest that physically active aging women, especially those who exercise regularly or vigorously, have healthier cardiovascular profiles than do their less active counterparts. They were more likely to be members of a health and fitness facility, to be younger, and have higher socioeconomic status. Their diets were healthier, and their perception of their health status was more positive. Physical measures of cardiovascular health also decreased with increased levels of activity (p < .05). These findings validate physical activity promotion as an effective strategy to ameliorate the cardiovascular health profile of aging women. The study also lends support for population-based cardiovascular health-promotion strategies.
The authors are with the Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2.