Coronary heart disease and physical activity



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Coronary heart disease has been a major contributor to the number of deaths reported worldwide (Campbell, 2005). The above-mentioned study was carried out in Sweden among men and women with the risk of getting Heart infections. Its main investigation element was to establish the relationship between leisure-time activity spent on physical activity and coronary heart disease. A national, random sample of 2,551 women and 2,645 men, aged 35–74, was interviewed in 1988 and 1989 and followed until December 31, 2000, with respect to CHD incident cases.

Back ground

Previous researches carried out in relation to CHD have indicated there is a very high relationship between physical activity and CHD (Frank, 2005). Though there are other causes of CHD, physical inactivity has come out strongly among them. Previous researches have never related low social economic status to CHD while they have mostly excluded women. It was therefore imperative to try and relate the above mentioned variables in this research.

The objectives

  1. To establish that physical activity was a contributing factor to CHD.
  2. To establish the relationship between low social economic status and CHD.


  1. There is a relationship between physical inactivity and CHD
  2. There is a relationship between low social economic status and CHD.



Study Design

It is to longitudinal study design was used. (Capewell, 2007). The research covered a period of twelve years.


These respondents were got from the Swedish Annual Level of Living Survey, a national survey done some times back. The participants were interviewed face-to-face by trained interviewers, including highly comprehensive questions on social, economic, lifestyle, and health indicators. The respondents were followed for a period of twelve years where all the variables being measured were carefully monitored.


The non-response rate was 21.8%. Participants who had Heart-related infections two years earlier were not included. This was the same to those who described their general heath as poor. While age was used as a continuing factor, gender was strictly divided as being male or female. The other variable was social economic status that was classified as either low income or others. The degree to which one was physically active was divided into four parts All the other variable such as smoking, were also divided into four depending on the degree to which one smokes while body mass index was calculated as weight (kg)/ height (m)2.

The bias that could be detected in this research was the age factor as it assumed that those below the age of 35 were not physically active. The research used the SAS software to perform statistical analysis. A Cox regression model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of CHD in the different. Because of the similarities between men and women, the risks were calculated together.


It was found that almost half the population performed no or occasional physical activity. 26.9% were found to be current smokers while 38.2% were either obese or overweight. Current smokers and those who performed no physical activity had the highest incidences of CHD. When the amount of physical activity increased, the risk of CHD decreased. Those who performed leisure-time physical activity vigorously at least twice a week exhibited a 54% lower risk of developing CHD than those who performed no leisure-time physical activity The same was also found to be true when income status was related to CHD, the lower the income status of the higher the risk of CHD.


These results were in conformance to other previous studies that had been done in the same area (Winkleby, 2003). The risk of contracting CHD was high in individuals who never performed any or occasional physical activity. It also showed that those who do physical exercise ones or twice a week reduced the risk of contracting CHD by 50%. Most studies done before this one mainly focused on men. One which was done in Finland used a very small sample and the use of self administered questionnaires made the data collections techniques questionable. Those studies that used very large samples like one which was done in America with a sample size of 74,000 yielded the same results as this research.

All the researches did previously used physical activity as a variable. It is therefore important to note that in most of the researches done, it was found out that physical activity helps in controlling the use of energy thus also played a role in controlling body mass index. A longitudinal study done among nurses in the US showed that physical activity helped control diabetes mellitus that is one of the causes of CHD. This research therefore was highly effective as the results achieved didn’t vary much with the other types of similar research done before it.

The use of self reported cases from the SALLS can be viewed as one the limitations of this study. The questionnaires should have also captured the nature of occupation of the respondents as some could be engaged in activities that are highly vigorous. However, by the fact that both men and women were involved and those that were only found to be healthy taken as samples, the research can be said to be a success as the sample taken was one that could be easily applied to the general population (Al-Mharmah, 2000).



The research was supported and funded by;

  1. The grants from the National Institutes of Health,
  2. The Swedish council for Working Life and Social Research
  3. The Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council
  4. The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and
  5. The Stockholm County Council.









Capewell S. (2007). Prospective cohort studies of coronary heart disease in the UK: a review      of past, present and planned studies. Burlington, MA:Butterworth- Heinemann.


Campbell, J. (2005). An Introductory Guide to putting Research into Practice. New York: Prentince Hall.


Al-Mharmah, H. (2000). Physical activity and Coronary Heart Diseases in Men. Journal of Medical Practice, 18(2), 105-109.


Frank E, K. (2005) Socioeconomic status and health: how education, income, and occupation contribute to risk factors for cardiovascular disease. New York: Prentice Hall.


Winkleby M, F. (2003). The management of Coronary Heart Diseases: A project life cycle approach. Burlington, MA:Butterworth- Heinemann.








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