Eating healthy and exercising could be key to achieving optimal health in your later years

April 04, 2021, 7:26 p.m. IS

Washington [US]April 4 (ANI): Researchers recently found in a study that following a routine of regular physical activity combined with a diet of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods can be key for middle-aged adults who later in life achieve optimal cardiometabolic health.
The new study, using data from the Framingham Heart Study, was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.
Cardiometabolic health risk factors include metabolic syndrome, a range of disorders such as excess fat around the waist, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. The presence of metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that it was unclear whether adherence to the U.S. Department of Health’s 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines and its Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2015-2020 were middle-aged Americans – as opposed to just one of the two the most beneficial cardiometabolic health outcomes later in life.
The physical activity guidelines recommend that adults achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, such as walking or swimming. The nutritional guidelines, updated in January 2021, offer suggestions for healthy eating habits, nutritional goals, and nutritional limits.
In an analysis of data from participants in the Framingham Heart Study, which began more than 70 years ago in Framingham, Massachusetts, investigators looked at data from 2,379 adults aged 18 and over and their compliance with the two guidelines. They observed that following a combination of the two recommendations during midlife was associated with a lower likelihood of metabolic syndrome and developing serious health conditions in participants aged in the final years of the 2016-2019 exams.
“Health professionals could use these findings to further promote and highlight 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 related author Vanessa Xanthakis, PhD, FAHA, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine in Boston.

“The sooner people make these lifestyle changes, the more likely they are to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease later in life,” added Xanthakis.
Study participants were selected from the third generation of the Framingham Heart Study. The participants (average age 47, 54 percent women) were examined between 2008 and 2011.
Researchers assessed physical activity using a special device known as an omnidirectional accelerometer. The device, which records sedentary and physical activity, was worn on the participant’s hip for eight days. Researchers also gathered nutritional information from food frequency questionnaires to measure the type and amount of food and nutrients consumed.
In this study, the researchers found that 28 percent of all participants met the recommendations in the guidelines for physical activity and diet, while 47 percent met the recommendations in only one of the guidelines. The researchers also observed that:
– Participants who followed physical activity recommendations alone were 51 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
– Participants who followed the dietary guidelines alone had a 33 percent lower chance; and
– Participants who followed both guidelines were 65 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
“It is noteworthy that we observed a dose-response relationship between adherence to diet and physical activity guidelines and the risk of cardiometabolic disease later in life,” said Xanthakis. “Participants who met physical activity guidelines had progressively less risk of cardiometabolic disease because they better followed dietary guidelines.”
All study participants were white adults, so the results cannot be extrapolated to people of other races or ethnic groups. According to researchers, additional studies with a multiethnic sample of participants are needed. (ANI)

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