The advice from a doctor that the best way to stave off cardiovascular disease consists of diet and exercise is almost a cliché, albeit one that happens to be true for most people. The idea is that the smaller your body-mass index is, the less likely you are to have a cardio event such as a heart attack or stroke.
However, for some people, especially the elderly, weight loss can mean the loss of muscle mass as well as fat, something that often precedes death. According to Science Daily, a study conducted by Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, examined the effect of BMI and physical exercise in the middle-aged and elderly, a time of life when weight loss becomes more difficult. The study examined 5,344 people between the ages of 55 and 97 from 1997 to 2012 of various BMIs ranging from normal weight to obese and the level of physical activity of low to high.
By the end of the study, 15 percent of the participants had suffered some kind of cardiovascular event. The researchers discovered that regardless of BMI, people with a high level of physical activity were less likely to have suffered from cardiovascular disease. Remarkably obese individuals with a high level of physical activity were not at increased risk of cardiovascular disease than people of normal weight who exercised at a greater than normal rate.
Obesity has a number of harmful effects on the human body that can lead to heart disease. But exercise, regardless of the effect on BMI, counteracts those effects. The bottom line is, while it is better to lose weight, it is vital to keep up a high level of physical activity to stave off cardiovascular disease.
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