Health | This one thing can smash your probability of healthy aging, scientists say

By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times

Before you calm down the brand new season from “The bear” or look Team USA Get the gold on the Olympic Games in ParisThink twice about how much time you spend on the couch watching TV. Your future self might thanks.

A latest study by Harvard researchers has found a connection between the favored pastime of sitting in front of the tv and the likelihood of reaching old age in good health: the more time spent on the previous, the lower the possibilities of achieving the latter.

The problem doesn’t appear to be with Sitting generally. After controlling for various risk aspects corresponding to Diet quality and smoking history, the researchers found no association between time spent in a chair at work and the possibility of aging well. The same is true for sitting within the automotive or at home when doing something aside from watching TV, corresponding to reading, eating, or paying bills.

But for each additional hour spent watching TV, an individual's probabilities of meeting researchers' definition of healthy aging decrease by 12 percent, in keeping with the study, published this week in JAMA Network Open.

This doesn’t bode well for the USA, where 62% of adults aged between 20 and 64 say they watch television for at the least two hours a day, as do 84% of seniors.

The results are based on data from greater than 45,000 women who participated within the Nurses Health StudyAll of them were at the least 50 years old in 1992 and had no major chronic diseases after they answered a series of questions on their health and every day activities.

For example, the nurses were asked how much time they spent standing or walking around at work or at home. They were asked about various varieties of exercise, including jogging, swimming laps, playing tennis and doing yoga. They were asked whether or not they mow their very own lawn.

And they were asked what number of hours they spent sitting in any type of activity.

It may not surprise you that the preferred type of sitting is sitting in front of the tv. More than half of ladies – 53% – said they watch between six and 20 hours of television per week. (The Median In this group, the weekly television viewing time was about 15.4 hours.) Another 15% of ladies reported watching between 21 and 40 hours of television per week, and a pair of% reported much more.

The nurses were followed for 20 years or until their death, whichever got here first. At the tip of the study period, 41% of them were still freed from 11 serious illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and multiple sclerosis. In addition, 44% of the nurses were mentally healthy, 52% had no memory problems and 16% had no physical impairments.

Only 8.6% of ladies met all 4 criteria required for healthy aging.

Overall, the ladies who watched more television tended to be older, smoked or drank more often, consumed more calories and had higher Body mass index than women who watched less television. The more avid television viewers also had higher rates of hypertension and high cholesterol.

After accounting for these and various other differences, the researchers found that the ladies who watched an hour or less of television per week were those more than likely to age healthily. Compared with them, women who watched two to 5 hours of television per week were 9% less more likely to age healthily; women who watched six to twenty hours per week were 19% less likely; women who watched 21 to 40 hours per week were 40% less likely; and ladies who watched at the least 41 hours per week were 45% less likely.

The researchers also found that replacing TV time with absolutely anything else — including sleep, for girls who got not more than seven hours of sleep an evening — increased their probabilities of healthy aging. The more intense the brand new activity, the larger the boost.

Although the actual percentage of ladies who were capable of age healthily was small, the study authors estimated that an extra 61% of ladies could have joined this select group in the event that they had done 4 things:

  • Spend at the least three hours a day doing light physical activity at work.
  • Invest at the least half-hour of moderate to intense physical activity on daily basis.
  • Maintained their weight inside the traditional range quite than being chubby or obese.
  • Limited their television time to lower than three hours a day.

The study didn’t show that excessive TV viewing caused the nurses to fail to age healthily, only that there was a big inverse correlation between the 2. Still, there are good reasons to imagine that their preferred sedentary activity was at the least partly guilty.

Previous studies have linked prolonged sitting – particularly while watching television – to various health problems, including diseases corresponding to Breast cancer, Colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes, Cardiovascular disease And early death(This particular study found that sitting for at the least twice so long as sitting for lower than three hours per day was related to a 17% increased risk of premature death in men and a 34% increased risk of premature death in women.)

But researchers at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health have gone a step further, said Dr. I-Min Leean epidemiologist at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston who studies how physical activity can prevent chronic diseases and extend life.

“This study expands our knowledge because it addresses 'healthy aging,'” said Lee, who was not involved within the study. “'Health' is not just the absence of disease; it encompasses dimensions of physical and mental health, function and well-being.”

All of the study participants were women, however the biological mechanisms likely apply to men as well, Lee said. Still, it will be good to truly test this association in men, in addition to people from a wider range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, she said. (The group of ladies in the unique Nurses Health Study was predominantly white.)

The youngest baby boomers are actually turning 60, and the share of the U.S. population that’s at the least 65 years old is predicted to rise from about 17% today to almost 21% in 2050. accordingly the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Population ageing is an important public health problem,” the study authors wrote, and techniques to advertise healthy ageing “are urgently needed.”

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