The Relationship of Objective Physical Activity with Traditional and Nontraditional Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Women

  • Anna M. Gorczyca
  • Jenna C. Sperry
  • Andrea K. Chomistek
Women and Heart Disease (Cecilia Linde, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Women and Cardiovascular Disease


Purpose of Review

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among women in the USA, accounting for one of every three deaths. Physical activity (PA) has been shown to have numerous beneficial effects for CVD risk reduction in women. Nonetheless, much of the previous research on the impact of PA on CVD risk factors has been measured using self-report questionnaires. The purpose of this review was to summarize the main findings for the association between objectively measured PA and PA interventions on traditional and nontraditional CVD risk factors from randomized controlled trials (RCT), cohort, and cross-sectional studies published in or after 2011. Traditional risk factors included hypertension, lipids, diabetes mellitus, and obesity whereas nontraditional risk factors included hypertension during pregnancy, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and depression.

Recent Findings

Shifting from traditional CVD risk factors to nontraditional, researchers have been assessing objective PA and PA interventions on pregnancy-related CVD risk factors. A recent meta-analysis and RCT found that exercise during pregnancy reduces the risk of GDM compared to standard maternity care. Recent intervention studies show the beneficial effects of strength training and high-intensity interval training on insulin resistance in women with PCOS.


More research looking at PA interventions with objectively measured compliance to PA (actual number of minutes, intensity, etc.) and observational studies using objective measures for PA (accelerometers, pedometers, etc.) are necessary at this time due to the difficulty of measuring light PA and the overestimation of MVPA through self-report.


Women Cardiovascular disease Risk factors Objective physical activity Exercise 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Anna M. Gorczyca, Jenna C. Sperry, and Andrea K. Chomistek declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major Importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna M. Gorczyca
    • 1
  • Jenna C. Sperry
    • 2
  • Andrea K. Chomistek
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management, Department of Internal Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public HealthIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public HealthIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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