Association of Physical Activity or Fitness with Incident Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, Javed Butler, Clyde W. Yancy, Gregg C. Fonarow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that high levels of physical activity are associated with lower risk of risk factors for heart failure (HF), such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. However, the effects of physical activity or fitness on the incidence of HF remain unclear. Methods and Results-MEDLINE and EMBASE were systematically searched until November 30, 2014. Prospective cohort studies reporting measures of the association of physical activity (n=10) or fitness (n=2) with incident HF were included. Extracted effect estimates from the eligible studies were pooled using a random-effects model meta-analysis, with heterogeneity assessed with the I2 statistic. Ten cohort studies on physical activity eligible for meta-analysis included a total of 282 889 participants followed for 7 to 30 years. For the physical activity studies, maximum versus minimal amount of physical activity groups were used for analyses; with a total number of participants (n=165 695). The pooled relative risk (95% confidence interval [CI]) for HF among those with a regular exercise pattern was 0.72 (95% CI, 0.67-0.79). Findings were similar for men (0.71 [95% CI, 0.61-0.83]) and women (0.72 [95% CI, 0.67-0.77]) and by type of exercise. There was no evidence of publication bias (P value for Egger test=0.34). The pooled associated effect of physical fitness on incident HF was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.75-0.83) for each unit increase in metabolic equivalent of oxygen consumption. Conclusions-Published literature support a significant association between increased physical activity or fitness and decreased incidence of HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-861
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • exercise
  • heart failure
  • motor activity
  • physical fitness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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