(HealthDay News) — Higher leisure time physical activity is associated with a lower risk of developing heart failure, according to a study published online September 2 in Circulation: Heart Failure.

Kasper Andersen, MD, PhD, from Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden, and colleagues evaluated responses to a questionnaire of lifestyle factors and medical history for 39,805 individuals without baseline heart failure in 1997. They assessed the total and direct effects of self-reported total and leisure-time physical activity on the risk of heart failure of any cause and heart failure of non-ischemic origin.

The researchers observed a correlation between higher leisure-time physical activity with lower risk of heart failure of any cause (hazard ratio [HR] of the total effect of leisure time physical activity, 0.54 for the fifth vs. first quintile). A similar direct effect was observed. Although the effect was less pronounced, high total daily physical activity level also correlated with lower risk of heart failure (total effect HR, 0.81 for fifth vs. first quintile).

“Leisure-time physical activity was inversely related to risk of developing heart failure in a dose-response fashion,” the authors write. “This was reflected in a similar but less pronounced association of total physical activity with risk of heart failure. Only part of the effects appeared to be mediated by traditional risk factors.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the health care and/or weight loss industries. The study was partially funded by Ericsson and Ica Sweden.

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