Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greatest health risk is avoidable

Greatest Health Risk Isn’t Cancer or Heart Disease; It’s Lack of Exercise http://bit.ly/18aw5s

His extensive research comes involves the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), an ongoing study started in 1970 which includes more than 80,000 people. In addition to keeping track of the participants medical histories, scientists periodically have measured the participants' body composition and body mass index (BMI). Each volunteer in the study also underwent a stress test.

The results, Blair told the APA, show that the fitness level of the research subjects has turned out to be a significant predictor of life span. For example, a follow-up study of 40,842 ACLS participants concluded a poor fitness level accounted for about 16 percent of all deaths in both men and women -- and these are deaths that most likely would have been avoided if these people had simply spent about half an hour a day walking. What's more, this percentage of deaths was significantly higher than when other risk factors were considered, including obesity, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes. The ACLS also found that men who were only moderately fit lived six years longer than men who would qualify as sedentary couch potatoes.

Blair revealed that exercise can help beat breast cancer, too. An examination of 14,811 women patients in the ACLS showed that those who very fit were 55 percent less likely to die from breast cancer than women who were not in good shape. This huge reduction in breast cancer deaths was calculated after the researchers controlled for BMI, smoking, family history of breast cancer and other possible risk factors. Blair also explained in his APA presentation that recent emerging evidence shows exercise is good for brain health and can delay the mind's decline.

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