In middle-aged and elderly women physical activity and moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, whereas smoking and a higher BMI increases the risk

In September 2018 researchers from The Netherlands, Brazil and the UK published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess the association between lifestyle factors (smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, and obesity) and cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and elderly women. 59 studies involving 5,358,902 women were included in the review. Results showed that physical activity and moderate alcohol intake were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease whereas smoking and a higher BMI increased the risk. A further analysis revealed that for each 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease increased by 24%.  However, the researchers did state that their review highlighted a lack of standardized methods to assess lifestyle factors as well as a lack of information on menopause status of the women, which should be addressed in future studies.

Colpani V et al. Lifestyle factors, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in middle-aged and elderly women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Epidemiol. 2018 Sep;33(9):831-845

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