Fitness Decline

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The U.S. population is aging and is becoming more obese and sedentary. Low fitness levels increase the risk of diseases and interfere with the ability of older adults to function independently. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that looked at fitness decline in the 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Fitness levels decline with age and accelerate after age 45, but staying at a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity can help.

A study looking at fitness levels included data on 3,400 women and 17,000 men aged 20 to 96 who participated in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study between 1974 and 2006.

Participants completed between two and 33 health examinations and had treadmill exercise tests to assess cardiorespiratory fitness.

Although fitness levels declined over time, cardiorespiratory fitness declined more rapidly after age 45, and the decline was greater for men than for women.

The results showed that being active, keeping a normal body mass index, and not smoking were associated with substantially higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness during the adult life span studied. Being inactive and having a high body mass index were associated with a lower age at which an individual could be expected to reach threshold cardiorespiratory fitness levels associated with substantially higher health risks.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.