Exercise is biggest factor in preventing heart disease
Researchers from the University of Wolverhampton have found the single most important factor in maintaining a healthy heart was being fit; irrespective of ‘fat’ scores such as body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip (WHR) or waist-to-height ratio (WTHR).
The study of over 4500 individuals aimed to find out whether a new fat ratio would a better way of determining someone’s risk of heart disease. They were concerned that the commonly used indices of fat didn’t account for a person’s body size and therefore were not the best indicators of how likely someone was to develop heart disease (referenced in the study as cardiometabolic risk – CMR).
To be able to measure CMR, all participants fasted before the test. They walked on treadmill for as long as they could, or until the researchers deemed it necessary to stop them. Their heart rates and oxygen intakes were monitored so a peak oxygen intake level could be calculated. The health of the heart was measured by testing blood samples for glucose and cholesterol as well as heart rate and blood pressure, both before during and after exercise.
In addition to the findings on exercise, the study concluded that the best predictor of CMR using a body shape index alone was to divide waist by the square root of height.