Activity 'cuts heart failure risks'
Being active, not smoking, keeping slim and drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol can halve the risk of heart failure in people over the age of 65, a study has found.
Researchers monitored the health of 2,290 men and women for up to 21 years, taking note of their diet, levels of exercise, alcohol use, smoking habits, weight and heart health.
During the study 1,380 participants suffered heart failure, a condition caused by the heart failing to pump enough blood around the body.
Walking at a faster pace and taking part in leisure activities that burned more than 845 calories a week were both associated with a lower risk of developing heart failure.
Not smoking, modest alcohol intake of not more than one or two drinks a day, and avoiding obesity were also protective.
People who adopted four or more of the healthy behaviours studied were half as likely to have heart failure as those who embraced one or none.
Lead researcher Dr Liana Del Gobbo, from Tufts University in the US, said: "It's encouraging to learn that older adults can make simple changes to reduce their heart failure risk, like engaging in moderate physical activity, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
"Although dietary patterns were not related to heart failure risk in this study, eating a healthy diet is of critical importance for preventing other cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases."
The findings are published in the American College of Cardiology journal Heart Failure.