Physical activity reduces risk of atrial fibrillation in obese people


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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High levels of physical activity could offset some of the increased atrial fibrillation (AF) risk among people with obesity, suggests new research. 

Researchers examined data on 43,602 men and women who participated in the third wave of the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT 3 Study) between 2006 and 2008 until first AF diagnosis or the end of follow-up in 2015. 

During a mean follow up of 8.1 years, a total of 1,459 AF cases were detected. The authors found higher levels of physical activity were associated with a gradually lower risk of AF. After multivariable analysis, participants with the highest levels of physical activity had a 14 per cent lower risk of AF compared to inactive participants.

The researchers found being overweight was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of AF, while obesity was associated with a 59 per cent increased risk. However, high levels of physical activity attenuated some of the higher AF risk in obese individuals (with a lower risk in highly active participants) compared to inactive counterparts. 

Presenting the findings in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the authors said increasing physical activity levels should be considered as a strategy for the prevention of AF among obese people. 

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