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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Spring babies at higher risk of heart death, but cycling can cut danger

Commuting by bike has been shown to be good for the heart
Commuting by bike has been shown to be good for the heart

People born in the spring and summer have a slightly higher risk of dying early from heart disease, research suggests.

A study of 116,911 women found that those born between March and July were around 9pc more likely to die from heart disease than those born in November.

The women, who were aged between 30 and 55 at the start of the study, were followed for an average of 38 years.

During this time, there were 8,360 deaths from cardiovascular disease, which includes disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

Those born in April had the highest deaths from cardiovascular disease and those born in December had the lowest.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, held true even when factors likely to influence the results, such as the women's socioeconomic status, were taken into account.

The researchers said: "The reasons for variations in risk of cardiovascular disease with different birth timings are not well understood, but could include prenatal and early postnatal exposures such as seasonal fluctuations in nutrition availability.

"Other reasons could be infections and inflammatory causes, climatic temperature, air pollution levels and amount of sunlight available."

Active

Other research suggests that cycling to work is good for the heart.

Commuting by bike or walkuing has been linked to a decreased incidence of heart attacks in men and women.

Co-authored by Olympic medal-winning triathlete brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, the research suggests active travel could provide important health benefits.

In areas where walking or cycling to work were more common in 2011, the incidence of heart attacks decreased across the following two years.

The research, led by the University of Leeds, acknowledged that the big risk factors for heart disease are a lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and diabetes.

After adjusting for these, researchers found active commuting was linked with additional health benefits in some cases.

For women who walked to work, there was an associated 1.7pc reduction in heart attacks the following year.

For men who cycled to work, there was also an associated 1.7pc reduction in heart attacks the following year.

The study looked at the 2011 UK Census data, which included 43 million people aged 25 to 74 employed in England.

It found 11.4pc were active commuters, with 8.6pc walking and 2.8pc cycling.

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