Objectives: The goal of this study was to determine the relative contribution of major lifestyle factors on the development of heart failure (HF) in older adults.
Background: HF incurs high morbidity, mortality, and health care costs among adults ≥65 years of age, which is the most rapidly growing segment of the U.S.
Methods: We prospectively investigated separate and combined associations of lifestyle risk factors with incident HF (1,380 cases) over 21.5 years among 4,490 men and women in the Cardiovascular Health Study, which is a community-based cohort of older adults. Lifestyle factors included 4 dietary patterns (Alternative Healthy Eating Index, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, an American Heart Association 2020 dietary goals score, and a Biologic pattern, which was constructed using previous knowledge of cardiovascular disease dietary risk factors), 4 physical activity metrics (exercise intensity, walking pace, energy expended in leisure activity, and walking distance), alcohol intake, smoking, and obesity.
Results: No dietary pattern was associated with developing HF (p > 0.05). Walking pace and leisure activity were associated with a 26% and 22% lower risk of HF, respectively (pace >3 mph vs. <2 mph; hazard ratio [HR]: 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.63 to 0.86; leisure activity ≥845 kcal/week vs. <845 kcal/week; HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.87). Modest alcohol intake, maintaining a body mass index <30 kg/m(2), and not smoking were also independently associated with a lower risk of HF. Participants with ≥4 healthy lifestyle factors had a 45% (HR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.42 to 0.74) lower risk of HF. Heterogeneity by age, sex, cardiovascular disease, hypertension medication use, and diabetes was not observed.
Conclusions: Among older U.S. adults, physical activity, modest alcohol intake, avoiding obesity, and not smoking, but not dietary patterns, were associated with a lower risk of HF.
Keywords: diet; heart failure; lifestyle; nutrition; physical activity; sodium.
Copyright © 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.