Post-Heart Attack Exercise Depends on Location

Heart attacks impact poor patients more

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Regular exercise is known to up survival odds after a heart attack. Yet patients who reside in poorer areas tend to get less physical activity than those in wealthier communities.

Patients residing in low income areas had the lowest levels of exercise, especially during the first five years after a heart attack

"Exercise regularly following a heart attack."

Yariv Gerber, lead researcher and a professor in the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Tel Aviv, said that neighborhood socioeconomic status is a major predictor of leisure-time physical activity.

Gerber recommends the establishment of free or low cost sports facilities in poorer areas to ensure that exercise-based rehabilitation is available to all myocardial infarction survivors, and to reduce inequalities following a heart attack. Myocardial infarction is a type of heart attack.

The researchers from the Study Group on First Acute Myocardial Infarction followed 1,410 myocardial infarction patients for more than 10 years to evaluate whether survivors living in disadvantaged areas were less likely to engage in leisure-time physical activity.

The link was the strongest in the first five years following a heart attack. Overall engagement in leisure-time physical activities was poor for all patients, with up to 37 percent reporting no activity and up to 27 percent reporting irregular activity upon follow up.

Structured interviews were conducted with patients about one week after initial hospitalization, and again at three to six months, one to two years, five years and 10 to 13 years. During these follow up sessions, researchers collected demographic, socioeconomic and clinical data. The follow ups were assessed through self-reported questionnaires.

The research was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Review Date: 
August 2, 2011
Last Updated:
August 5, 2011