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Leanna M. Ross, Jacob L. Barber, Alexander C. McLain, R. Glenn Weaver, Xuemei Sui, Steven N. Blair and Mark A. Sarzynski

In 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) established a new construct as part of the 2020 Impact Goals called ideal cardiovascular health (CVH), which is characterized by 7 metrics, known as Life’s Simple 7 (LS7). 1 The LS7 concept emphasizes 7 positive health factors (blood cholesterol, blood

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Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Adriana Pérez, David R. Jacobs Jr, Joowon Lee, Harold W. Kohl III and Barbara Sternfeld

Substantial evidence supports the beneficial role of habitual physical activity for general cardiovascular health and reduced risk of cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality. 1 The majority of this research has been established using participants’ reported accounts of current or past

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Jo-Ann V. Sawatzky and Barbara J. Naimark

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.

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Shannon Halloway, JoEllen Wilbur, Michael E. Schoeny, Pamela A. Semanik and David X. Marquez

This study examined the combined effects of sedentary behavior and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on cardiovascular health in older Latinos. In a cross-sectional sample of 147 older, community-dwelling Latinos, time spent in sedentary behavior and MVPA were obtained using accelerometers. Analyses examined the effects of a measure of physical activity that combined levels of sedentary behavior (± 10 daily hours) and MVPA (< 30, 30–150, or > 150 weekly minutes) on cardiovascular health outcomes (blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference, cardiorespiratory fitness). Results suggest that cardiovascular health benefits of MVPA on BMI (p = .005), waist circumference (p = .002), and cardiorespiratory fitness (p = .012) may depend on a participant’s level of sedentary behavior. For all three, health benefits of 30–150 weekly minutes of MVPA were found only for those without excessive sedentary behavior (≥ 10 hr). Sedentary behavior may negatively impact cardiovascular health despite moderate participation in MVPA. Health guidelines should suggest reducing sedentary behavior while increasing MVPA.

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Calvin H. Hirsch, Paula Diehr, Anne B. Newman, Shirley A. Gerrior, Charlotte Pratt, Michael D. Lebowitz and Sharon A. Jackson

Little is known about how many years of life and disability-free years seniors can gain through exercise. Using data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, the authors estimated the extra years of life and self-reported healthy life (over 11 years) and years without impairment in activities of daily living (over 6 years) associated with quintiles of physical activity (PA) in older adults from different age groups. They estimated PA from the Minnesota Leisure Time Activities Questionnaire. Multivariable linear regression adjusted for health-related covariates. The relative gains in survival and years of healthy life (YHL) generally were proportionate to the amount of PA, greater among those 75+, and higher in men. Compared with being sedentary, the most active men 75+ had 1.49 more YHL (95% CI: 0.79, 2.19), and the most active women 75+ had 1.06 more YHL (95% CI: 0.44, 1.68). Seniors over age 74 experience the largest relative gains in survival and healthy life from physical activity.

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Edmund O. Acevedo and Aaron L. Slusher

The relationship between stress and disease, in particular cardiovascular disease, has long been recognized, whereas the study of the physiological mechanisms that explain this link has only more recently received attention. The acute response to stress is generally thought to be a critically important adaptation designed to activate the system in preparation to cope with the stressor. However, prolonged stimulation of the system (acute and chronic) can lead to deleterious adaptations including the release of inflammatory cytokines (small proteins important in cell signaling) that play a critical role in the development of atherosclerosis. Scientists have therefore used a breadth of protocols and methods to identify the complexity of our fight-or-flight response and demonstrate the synergy between perception, the stress response, physical activity, and health. In addition, the critical assessment of cellular health, the gut microbiome, and genetic polymorphisms have further advanced our understanding of additional therapeutic targets against CVD.

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Ian M. Greenlund, Piersan E. Suriano, Steven J. Elmer, Jason R. Carter and John J. Durocher

Background: Sedentary activity and sitting for at least 10 hours per day can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease by more than 60%. Use of standing desks may decrease sedentary time and improve cardiovascular health. Acute standing lowers pulse wave velocity (PWV), but chronic effects remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of chronic standing desk use on arterial stiffness versus seated controls. Methods: A total of 48 adults participated in this study. Twenty-four participants qualified as seated desk users (age 41 [10] y, body mass index 25 [4] kg/m2) and 24 as standing desk users (age 45 [12] y, body mass index 25 [5] kg/m2). Arterial stiffness was assessed as PWV within the aorta, arm, and leg. Results: Carotid–femoral PWV (cfPWV) was not different between seated (6.6 [1.3] m/s) and standing (6.9 [1.3] m/s) groups (P = .47). Similarly, there were no differences in arm or leg PWV between groups (P = .13 and P = .66, respectively). A secondary analysis of traditional factors of age and aerobic fitness revealed significant differences in cfPWV in seated and standing desk participants. Age also significantly influenced cfPWV across conditions. Conclusions: Standing for >50% of a workday did not affect PWV. Consistent with previous research, fitness and age are important modulators of arterial stiffness.

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Lars Bo Andersen, Niels Wedderkopp, Peter Kristensen, Niels Christian Moller, Karsten Froberg and Ashley R. Cooper

Background:

Cycling to school may potentially increase physical activity level in sedentary children. Transport to school occur twice a day and could improve cardiovascular health in children. Commuter cycling is associated with lower mortality and cardiovascular disease rate in adults, but limited evidence exists in children.

Methods:

Participants were 334 children (age 9.7 ± 0.5 years) who were followed up 6 years later. Mode of travel to school was investigated by questionnaire. Cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors were compared by mode of travel to school both at baseline and at follow up and for subjects who changed mode of transportation. No difference was found between walkers and passive travelers, and these groups were merged in the analysis.

Results:

A consistent pattern of better CVD risk factor profile in commuter cyclists compared with children using other means of transport was found. Participants, who did not cycle to school at baseline, and who had changed to cycling at follow up, were fitter, had better cholesterol/HDL ratio, better glucose metabolism, and a lower composite CVD risk factor score than those who did not cycle at either time point.

Conclusion:

Cycling to school may contribute to a better cardiovascular risk factor profile in young people.