Home Medizin Frauen haben durch körperliche Betätigung mehr gesundheitliche Vorteile als Männer

Frauen haben durch körperliche Betätigung mehr gesundheitliche Vorteile als Männer

von NFI Redaktion

In a recently published study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers explored the gender-specific reduction of the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality resulting from physical activity. They used a large (n = 412,313) cohort from the United States to identify this association, and found that women had greater benefits from the same level of physical activity than their male counterparts.

Historically, women have generally lagged behind men in sports engagement. These findings can help inform doctors and health-conscious individuals about the benefits of physical activity in combating chronic cardiovascular diseases, and bridge the observed „gender-specific differences“ by encouraging women to engage in physical activity during their leisure time.

Study: Gender differences in the relationship between physical activity and all-cause as well as cardiovascular mortality

Study: Gender differences in the relationship between physical activity and all-cause as well as cardiovascular mortality.

The Gender Difference and Its Implication for Gender-specific Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular mortality continues to be a leading cause of global loss of life, likely being underestimated alarming given that cardiovascular diseases are a commonly reported comorbidity in numerous non-communicable and communicable pathologies. Decades of research have shown that physical activity (PA) can significantly reduce all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, but records show a painful lack of public engagement in leisure PA.

In the United States alone, less than 25% of the population fulfills the minimum PA recommendations of 150 minutes per week for moderate PA or 75 minutes per week for vigorous PA prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Cardiology. Significant inter-gender differences in PA engagement further distort these already suboptimal observations – a significantly larger proportion of men engage in leisure PA than women, compounded by differences in physiological responses, physical performance, and activity tolerances between genders, which may lead to markedly different mortality outcomes between these cohorts.

Unfortunately, empirical evidence of these „gender differences“ between men and women has never been tested within a scientific framework, denying healthcare providers, policymakers, and health-conscious individuals the information they need to optimize PA-related outcomes. Understanding the role of gender in these associations would enable improved guidelines aimed at bridging the gender gap, promoting greater female engagement in PA, and reducing overall mortality risk.

About the Study

In the present study, the researchers sought to clarify whether the health benefits of PA vary depending on the gender of the person involved in PA. Their cohort was derived from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a large-scale community initiative by the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics. The NHIS, founded in 1957, is a prospective cohort managing the health records of Americans in 50 states and the District of Columbia, representing a microcosm of America’s health.

The current study utilized participant data from 1997 to 2017, initially including 646,279 individuals. The exclusion of participants with severe cardiovascular diseases (e.g., coronary heart disease), cancers, or missing demographic or medical data resulted in a final cohort of 412,413 adults. Data collection included demographic and medical information (from the NHIS database) and a consistent, standardized questionnaire for PA frequency, duration, and type assessment, administered at both baseline and follow-up.

Cox proportional-hazard regression models were used to assess the primary outcomes, adjusted for demographic and clinical covariates. Gender-specific differences in outcome estimates were calculated using likelihood ratio tests.

Study Results

The collection of demographic data revealed that 54.7% of the participating participants were women, of whom more than 68% were of white descent. The average age of the study cohort was 43.9 years, and the study captured a total of 4,911,178 person-years of follow-up data. During the study, 39,935 participants died from all causes, with 11,670 from cardiovascular diseases.

Previously observed discrepancies in gender-specific PA engagement were validated in this study, with only 32.5% of women performing weekly aerobic PA, compared to 43.1% of male participants. Every PA metric measured in the survey showed a greater engagement by men compared to women, with 15.2% of men reaching the prescribed weekly PA target of 150 minutes/week. In contrast, only 10.3% of women reached this goal.

Hazard analyses, however, indicate that the few women engaging in physical activity have significantly greater relative health benefits than their male counterparts. Compared to inactivity, the implementation of PA in women resulted in a 24% risk reduction (all-cause mortality), while an equivalent PA implementation in men only reduced their mortality risk by 15%.

„In dose-dependent analyses for the entire cohort, the benefit of PA on all-cause mortality reached its peak at ∼300 minutes/week MVPA and then plateaued. The greatest mortality benefit in men was achieved at 300 minutes/week MVPA, with an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality. Women achieved a similar benefit at 140 minutes/week MVPA and continued to benefit with increasing minute/week MVPA, with the greatest benefit being a 24% lower risk (HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.72–0.80) at approximately 300 minutes/week.“

While these results need to be validated in non-American cohorts, where the observed outcomes, particularly in engagement, can drastically differ from those observed here, this study underscores the profound benefits of PA engagement for both genders and can play a crucial role in motivating women to traditionally hesitate to engage in these activities, given the health benefits they bring.

Journal Reference:

  • Ji, H., Gulati, M., Huang, TY, Kwan, AC, Ouyang, D., Ebinger, JE, Casaletto, K., Moreau, KL, Skali, H. & Cheng, S. (2024). Gender differences in the relationship between physical activity and all-cause as well as cardiovascular mortality. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 83(8), 783-793, DOI – 10.1016/j.jacc.2023.12.019, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109723083134?via%3Dihub

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