Increased Physical Activity Linked to Reduced Heart Failure Risk in Older Women

The Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) in Older Women study has found that daily light physical exercise and minimal sedentary time in older women was inversely associated with overall heart failure, and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).  



  • In this prospective cohort study, a total of 5951 women aged 63 to 99 years (mean [SD] age, 78.6 [6.8] years) without known heart failure were included in the analysis.
  • Women self-identified with the following race and ethnicity categories; 2004 non-Hispanic Black (33.7%), 1022 Hispanic (17.2%), and 2925 non-Hispanic White (49.2%).
  • Participants completed hip-worn triaxial accelerometry for 7 consecutive days, and follow-up for incident heart failure occurred during a mean 7.5 years of follow-up. 



  • 407 total heart failure cases were recorded, 257 of which were HFpEF, 110 HFrEF in a mean 7.5 years of follow-up. 
  • Cubic spline curves for overall heart failure and HFpEF were found to be significantly inverse for total physical activity and steps per day, and positive for those who were sedentary. 
  • Light physical exercise and moderate to vigorous physical exercise were found to be inversely associated with overall rates of heart failure, but not HFrEF. 
  • These associations did not meaningfully differ when stratified by age, race and ethnicity, body mass index, physical function or comorbidity score. 


These findings suggest that increasing physical exercise and reducing sedentary time can have profound implications for primary HFpEF prevention, and healthy aging in later life. 


The study was funded in part by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Health and Human Services. 



LaMonte, M, LaCroix, A, Nguyen, S, et al. Accelerometer-Measured Physical Activity, Sedentary Time, and Heart Failure Risk in Women Aged 63 to 99 Years. JAMA Cardiology. Published online February 21, 2024. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2023.5692. [Accessed 1 March, 2024]