Physical activity and longevity in the elderly

An article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reports, “Efforts to increase or maintain free-living activity energy expenditure will likely improve the health of older adults.”

They actually correlate calories burned with longevity.

The most active among these 302 elderly adults (70 to 82 years) burned about 1,000 calories daily through activity — about 600 calories more than the least active adults. This difference was associated with a 50% reduction in mortality. For every 287 kcal/day in free-living activity energy expenditure, there was approximately a 30% lower risk of mortality.

For someone weighing 170 pounds, this equals about 3.5 hours of daily activity such as yard work and household chores, versus less than two hours of similar activity for the least active adults.

The challenge is that about 75% of Americans over the age of 75 years live sedentary lives. How do we get grandma and grandpa, or mom and dad, to change habits acquired over 8 decades of life?

7/12/06 10:10 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.