(HealthDay News) — The fittest seniors are half as likely as others to suffer from heart failure, according to research published in the July 1 issue of JACC: Heart Failure.

The study authors followed 4,490 people aged ≥65 for up to 22 years. The participants – 61% women, 89% white, and 11% black – were enrolled in the study in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Over the time the study participants were followed there were 1,380 cases of heart failure.

The researchers observed no link between diet and heart failure rates. But those who walked faster (>3 miles per hour vs. <2 miles per hour) were 26% less likely to suffer from heart failure. And those who met four or more criteria for good health were 45% less likely to suffer from heart failure.

“Older adults can make simple changes to reduce their heart failure risk, such as not smoking, engaging in moderate physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight,” study author Liana Del Gobbo, PhD, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, told HealthDay.

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