Physical activity and heart health

 

Sir, – I was disappointed to read the headline of the article published in The Irish Times (September 21st): “Physical activity may increase heart attack risk, study suggests.”

In my opinion, the headline is misleading and does not reflect the content of the scientific article published in Heart.

In fact the authors of the scientific article themselves state that their findings “should not be interpreted as a harmful effect of physical activity, but, rather, need to be taken into account when evaluating the progression of coronary artery calcium in patients who exercise to reduce cardiovascular risk” before stating that the “cardiovascular benefits of physical activity are unquestionable”.

While the accompanying article provided some balance, it is well recognised that a significant proportion of media consumers only read the headline before sharing an article.

As such, it is imperative that the media ensure that the headlines they publish are reflective of the content of the accompanying article.

In modern society, two of the biggest public health challenges are the rising rates of obesity and the increasing adoption of a sedentary lifestyle.

Sensationalist, clickbait headlines like this serve only to confuse the public regarding the health benefits of exercise and may dilute the effectiveness of public health messaging.

– Yours, etc,

Dr JJ COUGHLAN,

German Heart Centre,

Munich, Germany.