Physically Active Men Live Longer After Cancer,
Cardiovascular Disease; Reduce Heart Failure
Most active older cancer survivors 38% less likely to
die of cancer; 49% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease
Jan. 23, 2014 Two new studies have found physical
activity is very beneficial for older men. The results of one reports exercise
it significantly extends the lives of senior cancer and cardiovascular
disease survivors, and the other concludes it reduces heart failure
research released today in the Journal of Physical Activity &
Health studied 1,021 senior men with an average age of 71. During
the period while the men were followed, those who expended more than
12,600 calories per week in physical activity were 48 percent less
likely to die of any cause than those who burned fewer than 2,100
calories per week.
In the second study, published earlier this week in
the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure,
the researchers found that sitting for long periods increases
risk in men (ages 45 to 69), even for those who exercise regularly.
for Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease Survivors
Many cancer survivors are living longer, due to
earlier diagnosis and better treatment, and their numbers are increasing
rapidly. "Thus physical activity should be actively promoted to such
individuals to enhance longevity," researchers concluded.
There has been extensive research showing that
among generally healthy, cancer-free populations, physical activity
extends longevity. But there has been relatively little such research on
physical activity among cancer survivors.
Kathleen Y. Wolin, PhD, of Loyola University
Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, is co-author of the study, published
in the official journal of the International Society for Physical
Activity and Health.
Researchers examined data from the Harvard Alumni
Health Study, an ongoing study of men who entered Harvard as
undergraduates between 1916 and 1950. Researchers looked at 1,021 men
(average age 71) who previously had been diagnosed with cancer.
In questionnaires conducted in 1988, men reported
their physical activities, including walking, stair-climbing and
participation in sports and recreational activities. Their physical
activities were updated in 1993, and the men were followed until 2008.
Compared with men who expended fewer than 2,100
calories per week in physical activity, men who expended more than
12,600 calories per week were 48 percent less likely to die of any cause
during the follow-up period.
This finding was adjusted for age, smoking, body
mass index, early parental mortality and dietary variables. (By
comparison, a 176-pound man who walks briskly for 30 minutes a day, five
days a week burns 4,200 calories.)
There were similar findings for mortality from
cancer and cardiovascular disease: the most physically active cancer
survivors were 38 percent less likely to die of cancer and 49 percent
less likely to die of cardiovascular disease during the follow-up
The study was supported by grants from the National
Institutes of Health.
Less Reduces Heart Failure Risk
Preventing heart failure, researchers found,
requires a two-part behavioral approach: high levels of
plus low levels of sedentary time. The study is the first to examine the
link between heart failure risk and sedentary time, said Deborah Rohm
Young, Ph.D., lead researcher and a senior scientist at Kaiser
Permanente in Pasadena, Calif.
Be more active and sit less. Thats the message
here, Young said.
Researchers followed a racially diverse group of
84,170 men ages 45 to 69 without heart failure. Exercise levels were
calculated in METs, or metabolic equivalent of task, a measure of the
bodys energy use. Sedentary levels were measured in hours. After an
average of nearly eight years of follow-up, researchers found:
>> Men with low levels of physical activity were 52 percent
more likely to develop heart failure than men with high physical
activity levels, even after adjusting for differences in sedentary time.
>> Outside of work, men who spent five or more hours a day
sitting were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than men
who spent no more than two hours a day sitting, regardless of how much
>> Heart failure risk more than doubled in men who sat for at
least five hours a day and got little exercise compared to men who were
very physically active and sat for two hours or less a day.
Study limitations: Since no women were studied the
results may not apply to them; results were self-reported, which could
mean physical activity was over reported; results were based only on
time outside of work and cant be applied to overall sedentary activity;
and participants were members of comprehensive health plans, so results
may not apply to men lacking health insurance.
The study supports the American Heart Association
recommendation that people get at least 150 minutes a week of
moderate-intensity aerobic activity to reduce their risk for heart
failure and other cardiovascular diseases, Young said.
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