Objective. To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials that examined theeffect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.Methods. Four electronic databases and reference lists were searched (Jan 1971–June 2012). Two authorsidentified randomised control trials of interventions ≥4 weeks in duration that included at least one groupwith walking as the only treatment and a no-exercise comparator group. Participants were inactive at baseline.Pooled results were reported as weighted mean treatment effects and 95% confidence intervals using a random effects model.Results. 32 articles reported the effects of walking interventions on cardiovascular disease risk factors.Walking increased aerobic capacity (3.04 mL/kg/min, 95% CI 2.48 to 3.60) and reduced systolic (−3.58mmHg, 95% CI−5.19 to −1.97) and diastolic (−1.54 mm Hg, 95% CI −2.83 to −0.26) blood pressure, waist circumference (−1.51 cm, 95% CI −2.34 to −0.68), weight (−1.37 kg, 95% CI −1.75 to −1.00), percentage body fat (−1.22%, 95% CI −1.70 to −0.73) and body mass index (−0.53 kg/m2, 95% CI −0.72 to −0.35) but failed toalter blood lipids.Conclusions. Walking interventions improve many risk factors for cardiovascular disease.This underscores the central role of walking in physical activity for health promotion.
- physical activity
- cardiovascular risk