WEDNESDAY March 31, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Live well, live longer.
New research provides more evidence that the mantra is true: People who took regular exercise and followed a healthy diet in middle age were less at risk of serious health problems than seniors.
“Health professionals could use these findings to further promote and emphasize the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen for their patients to avoid developing numerous chronic conditions in present and later life,” said study author Vanessa Xanthakis, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Her team analyzed long-term data from nearly 2,400 Americans in a large ongoing U.S. health study to determine how closely they followed U.S. government dietary and physical activity guidelines. The physical activity policy advocates at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, e.g. B. Walking or swimming.
The adults in the study averaged 47 years old between 2008 and 2011, and their final years in 2016-2019.
Middle-aged 28% of adults followed both physical activity and diet guidelines, while 47% followed only one of the guidelines.
Adhering to guidelines for physical activity and diet in middle age was associated with a lower chance of developing metabolic syndrome and other serious health conditions later in life, according to the study published March 31 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“The sooner people make these lifestyle changes, the more likely they are to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease later in life,” Xanthakis said in a press release in a magazine.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of health conditions – including excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels – that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The risk of metabolic syndrome was 51% lower for those who followed the physical activity recommendations alone, 33% lower for those who followed the dietary guidelines alone, and 65% lower for those who followed both guidelines.
All of the adults in the study were white, so the results cannot be extrapolated to other racial / ethnic groups. More studies spanning a range of racial / ethnic groups are needed, the researchers said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians provides resources for healthy living.
Source: Journal of the American Heart Association, news release, March 31, 2021