Hearts are kept strong with regular physical activity, and daily activity such as a daily, 20-minute, brisk walk is key; however, some groups may have additional barriers that affect whether or not a daily walk is feasible. Increasing physical activity levels, particularly among people at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, has known heart health benefits and may help reduce cardiovascular health disparities, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published today in the Association’s flagship, peer-reviewed journal Circulation. An American Heart Association scientific statement is an expert analysis of current research and may inform future guidelines.
The new statement, “Increasing Equity of Physical Activity Promotion for Optimal Cardiovascular Health in Adults,” examines physical activity levels among different groups of adults, reviews strategies for increasing physical activity in groups that are under-resourced or at-risk for poor cardiovascular health, and offers suggestions for how to promote physical activity to reduce cardiovascular risk equitably through physical activity.
“Helping everybody improve their heart health is important,” said Gerald J. Jerome, Ph.D., FAHA, volunteer chair of the writing committee for the scientific statement and a professor in the department of kinesiology at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. “We found that many groups who had poor heart health also had low levels of physical activity. We know regular physical activity is a key component of optimal heart health. These findings provide an opportunity to focus our efforts on physical activity programs in places where people need them the most.”