March 31, 1995 in Seven

Exercise Can Get To The Heart Of The Matter

Lee Ann Broussard Knight-Ridder
 

Are you taking good care of your heart? Consider these facts and statistics about heart disease and physical activity from the American Heart Association:

Every 34 seconds, a life is claimed by heart disease or stroke.

Heart attacks are the single largest killer of Americans.

Over 56 million Americans (more than one in five) have some form of cardiovascular disease.

More than two of every five Americans die from cardiovascular disease.

Even though death rates from cardiovascular disease are declining, too many people die from this largely preventable disease. Some of the prevention measures that can be taken include lowering and controlling your blood pressure, stopping smoking, lowering your cholesterol level and maintaining physical activity.

Being in good physical condition has been shown to help prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels, help lessen the severity of a heart attack and help in burning calories to avoid obesity.

Despite all the positive, well-published benefits of physical activity, few Americans are heeding the advice. Consider these startling statistics from the American Heart Association on exercise:

Only slightly more than one in 10 Americans report daily physical activity of 30 minutes or more.

Coronary heart disease is 1.9 times more likely to develop in physically inactive people than in active ones, independent of other risk factors.

The National Children & Youth Fitness Study indicated that at least half of today’s youth do not engage in physical activity appropriate to promoting long-term health.

Across all age groups, persons with higher levels of education are more likely to exercise regularly than those with fewer years of education.

Being 30 percent or more over ideal body weight, or obese, is a contributing risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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