How Americans Should Take Care Of Their Health?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : April 5, 2021

Journal of the American Heart Association conducted a research recently. This research says that a diet consisting of green vegetables and other health foods together with a regime of regular physical activity goes a long way for  middle-aged adults to achieve optimal cardio metabolic health later in life.

How Americans Should Take Care Of Their Health?

Cardio metabolic health risk factors consists of metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of disorders like insulin resistance, excess fat around the waist and high blood pressure. According to this study presence of the metabolic syndrome may result in the risk of  stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

How Americans Should Take Care Of Their Health?

The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that midlife is the time to follow healthy routine to achieve the most favorable cardiometabolic health outcomes later in life. The physical activity guidelines suggests that adults should conduct at least 75 minutes of vigorous or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, like jogging, walking or swimming. The dietary guidelines,  updated in January 2021,  suggests that all should follow healthy eating patterns keeping in view proper nutritional targets, and dietary limits.

The analysis of data from participants of the Framingham Heart Study, that began more than 70 years ago in Framingham, Massachusetts gave remarkable results. The study investigators examined data from 2379 adults, 18 years of age and older, and their adherence to the 2 guidelines. They saw that combining of the 2 recommendations during midlife resulted in lower odds of metabolic syndrome and lowered the chances of developing serious health conditions.

A corresponding author Vanessa Xanthakis, PhD, FAHA, assistant professor of medicine and biostatistics in the Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine in Boston, in a press release said that the  experts used this data to promote and emphasize to their patients the needs and benefits of a healthy diet and a regular routine of any type of physical activity to avoid the risk of various chronic health conditions in the present and in later life. 

She further added that the earlier people make these lifestyle changes, the better because then they will be at lower risk of cardiovascular-associated diseases later in life.

Study participants were chosen from the 3rd generation of the Framingham Heart Study. They were examined between 2008 and 2011, and the researchers evaluated their physical activity with the help of a specialized device known as an omnidirectional accelerometer.

This device, which tracks physical and sedentary activity, was worn on the participant’s hip for a period of 8 days. The researchers also gathered dietary information from filled up food frequency questionnaires to keep an account of the kinds and levels of food and nutrients consumed.

In this analysis, the researchers saw that among all participants, 28% followed recommendations of both the dietary guidelines and physical activity and 47% followed the recommendations in only 1 of the guidelines.

The researchers also concluded that:

  • Participants who had followed only the physical activity recommendations  had 51% lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Participants who had followed  the dietary guidelines alone had 33% lower risk.
  • Participants who had followed both guidelines had 65% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Xanthakis, a researcher said that they observed a dose-response association of sticking to diet and physical activity guidelines with risk of cardio metabolic disease later in life. Those participants who strictly followed the physical activity guidelines had comparatively lower risk of cardio metabolic disease than those who ignored the guidelines completely.

According to the study authors these findings can’t be generalized to people belonging to other racial or ethnic groups as all of the study participants were white Americans.  They added that additional studies are needed with a multiethnic participant sample.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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