Physical activity and cardiovascular disease

Job-related activity associated with lower CHD risk

When the Seven Countries Study started in the 1960s, the emphasis on the lifestyle factor of physical activity was on occupation, that is, on job-related physical activity. The men were classified in three categories: sedentary, moderately active and very active. An analysis using data from 12 of the 16 cohorts showed that sedentary men compared to moderately active men had a 21% lower risk of 20-year CHD mortality. A 38% lower CHD mortality was observed comparing those with heavy activity jobs to sedentary men.

More active leisure time related to lower CVD risk

In the US railroad cohort, leisure-time activity was measured by a detailed questionnaire. Men who spent more than 2000 kcal/week on leisure-time physical activity had a 29% lower 20-year CHD mortality compared to men who expended less than 250 kcal/week exercising. In the elderly men in Zutphen, walking or cycling at least three times per week for 20 minutes (the recommended level of physical activity for the elderly) was associated with a 34% lower 10-year cardiovascular mortality compared to more sedentary men.

About the Zutphen Elderly Study

The Zutphen Elderly Study is an extension of the original Zutphen Study with a sample of the same age where detailed information on the diet of all the participants was collected four times between 1985 and 2000.  Read more about the Zutphen (Elderly) Study.

More about healthy aging

From 1984 onwards, additional studies started to examine indicators of healthy ageing in the elderly populations of in the SCS and related studies.


Measuring functional status

Functional status was measured with a self-administered 13-item WHO-questionnaire on activities of daily living.

More about the relationship between lifestyle and CVD

Fiber and coronary heart disease

The results showed that every additional 10 g/d of recent dietary fiber intake was associated with a significantly lower risk of fatal CHD.