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An Estimation of the Worldwide Epidemiologic Burden of Physical Inactivity-Related Ischemic Heart Disease



Although physical inactivity (PI) is universally considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular disorders, no previous study has investigated its putative contribution on the societal and healthcare burden of ischemic heart disease (IHD). Therefore, we aimed to provide an objective assessment of the worldwide epidemiology of PI-related IHD.


An electronic search was performed in the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) registry, a large database of health-related data, for assessing the worldwide epidemiology of PI-related IHD.


The current burden of PI-related disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and deaths caused by IHD is 9.1% (15.42 out of 170.27 million DALYs) and 9.9% (5.46 out of 55.14 million deaths), respectively. Women have a ~ 14% higher risk of both PI-related DALYs and mortality. The impact of PI on IHD remains stable around 7% up to the middle age, then gradually increases in parallel with aging, up to over 11%. A ~ 20% higher risk of PI-related DALYs and mortality caused by IHD can be found in countries with middle-to-high socio-demographic index (SDI) compared with countries with lower SDIs. In multivariable analysis, PI-related DALYs and mortality caused by IHD were significantly predicted by female sex, advanced age, and higher SDI.


The results of our analysis suggest that reinforced efforts shall be prioritized and scaled up for broadening and ameliorating the application of physical activity recommendations in populations more vulnerable to the risk of PI-related IHD.

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Fabian Sanchis-Gomar is supported by a postdoctoral contract granted by “Subprograma Atracció de Talent - Contractes Postdoctorals de la Universitat de València.”

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Correspondence to Fabian Sanchis-Gomar.

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The study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Lippi, G., Sanchis-Gomar, F. An Estimation of the Worldwide Epidemiologic Burden of Physical Inactivity-Related Ischemic Heart Disease. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther (2020).

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  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Physical activity
  • Mortality
  • Epidemiology