Exercising to government standards could lower your death risk

April 5, 2011 By Glenda Fauntleroy
Exercising to government standards could lower your death risk

Following federal government recommendations on exercise might lead to a longer life for all adults, according to a new study nearly 250,000 Americans.

“Our study provides evidence that adults who adhere to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2008 Physical Activity reduce their mortality risks compared with adults who don’t meet the recommendations, and adults who have chronic health conditions may benefit even more,”said Charlotte Schoenborn, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. She is lead author of the study appearing in the online and in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers evaluated data from the 1997–2004 National Health Interview Survey linked to mortality records for deaths that occurred between 1997 and 2006. The survey contained information from 242,397 adults who responded to items about how often they engaged in aerobic and strength-training activities.

To meet the HHS physical activity guidelines, adults should do moderate-intensity aerobic at least 150 minutes per week or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise at least 75 minutes per week. They should also perform strengthening exercises at least twice a week.

About 46 percent of the adults in the study had at least one chronic health condition, such as diabetes, cancer or respiratory problems. In the adults with chronic illness, the study found that 24 percent met the aerobic guidelines compared with about 27 percent who followed the guidelines and had none of these health problems.

In addition, 12 percent of adults with chronic conditions met both the aerobic and strengthening guidelines compared with almost 19 percent of those without chronic conditions, according to the authors.

By the end of the study period, researchers reported there were 12,192 deaths among participants who lived at least two years after their interviews.

Adults who met the combined physical activity guidelines had lower risks of dying compared to those who were not as physically active. While the risks were 27 percent lower among those without chronic health conditions, those with an illness saw their risks reduced by almost 50 percent. The authors concluded, “adhering to the levels of physical activity recommendation has substantial survival benefits.”

Georgia Frey, associate professor in the Kinesiology Department at Indiana University,said people are willing to meet the current guidelines, but need assistance in making changes.

“More education is needed to promote the benefits of physical activity beyond weight loss, primarily from the medical profession,” Frey said. “Medical practitioners should prescribe regular physical activity just as they would other treatments and inform patients about how to access valid professional, physical activity resources to assist with the process of becoming active. really is a magic pill.”

More information: Schoenborn CA, Stommel M. Adherence to the 2008 Adult Physical Activity Guidelines and mortality risk. Am J Prev Med 40(5), 2011.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rgwalther
not rated yet Apr 05, 2011
Might be true unless your government in North Korea...
Corban
not rated yet Apr 05, 2011
I'll bet holding oneself to the bare minimum of military PT fitness will result in even stronger gains!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.