April 22, 2010

Walking Could Help Women Avoid Stroke

Women who walked for at least two hours or more each week were less likely to suffer a stroke than those who do not, according to a recent Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study.

While the benefits of walking in terms of overall physical fitness and circulatory health are widely acknowledged, a team of researchers led by a doctoral candidate in epidemiology named Jacob Sattelmair set out to quantify things.

Sattelmair and his colleagues studied over 39,000 women who were at least 45 years of age, in good health, and enrolled in the Women's Health Study. During the 12-years they participated in the study, a total of 579 women suffered a stroke, though the most active women were 17-percent less likely to have a stroke during follow ups than the least active study participants.

Furthermore, according to Terri Coles of Reuters Health, "Compared with women who didn't walk, women who walked two or more hours a week at any pace cut their risk of any type of stroke by 30 percent"¦ [and] women who walked at a pace of 3 miles per hour or faster had a 37 percent lower risk of suffering any type of stroke compared to those who walked at a slower pace."

The findings were published in the April 6 online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health, who did not participate in the research, told Coles that the Sattelmair team's findings "certainly add to the evidence that even moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking is beneficial to the reduction of risk of strokes"¦ The bottom line is that this study provides another piece of evidence for why people should move and get off the couch."


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Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)