Fitness and obesity

Published on Sep 11, 2004 04:44 PM IST

Checking a woman's fitness levels is a better way of deciding how susceptible she is to CV diseases.

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PTI | ByAsian News International, Washington

A new study has found that checking a woman's fitness levels is a better way of deciding how susceptible she is to cardiovascular (CV) diseases than checking her obesity level.

According to the study, published in this week's issue of the Journal of American Medical Association, checking fitness may be more important than weight or obesity for CV risk in women.

The researchers from the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, think that evaluation of physical activity and functional capacity using simple questionnaires should be an integral part of CV risk stratification, and interventions aimed at increasing physical fitness levels should be included in the management of all women at risk for coronary heart disease.

The study suggests that women reporting higher levels of physical fitness have fewer coronary artery disease risk factors, less coronary artery disease, and a lower risk for cardiovascular events, whereas measures of obesity are not as strongly associated with these outcomes, which makes fitness a better indicator.

During the course of the study, researchers studied 936 women undergoing coronary angiography to evaluate suspected ischemia. They found that most obesity studies have not adequately measured physical activity and many studies of physical fitness have excluded women with known or suspected coronary heart disease.

They also found that 76 percent were overweight, 70 percent had low functional exercise capacity, and 39 percent had obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD).

"During follow-up, 38 percent women had a first adverse event, 13 percent had a major adverse event, and 8 percent died. Overweight women were more likely than normal weight women to have CAD risk factors, but neither body mass index nor abdominal obesity measures were significantly associated with obstructive CAD or adverse cardiovascular (CV) events after adjusting for other risk factors," the authors wrote in the study.

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