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Women: Want to Add Years to Your Life?

Women: Want to Add Years to Your Life?

Friday, March 9th 2007

A new study has identified several factors that may lengthen or shorten a woman's life span.

Being overweight, smoking, and having high blood pressure or diabetes are all known to contribute to poor health. But how do these different factors affect a woman's chance of dying? That question was addressed by a team of researchers including doctors from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health and Human Services.

"Our goal was to assess the relative strength and joint contributions of factors on the risk of death in postmenopausal women," the team said. "We were particularly interested in assessing the contribution of potentially modifiable risk factors." In other words, they were particularly interested in factors affecting life expectancy that can be changed, such as diet or exercise habits.

The most important factors for living longer

The women who took part in the study were part of the larger Fracture Intervention Trial. Close to 18,000 women (with an average age of 68) answered questions about their health and dietary habits and gave detailed information about their medical history.

The study results, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the most important risk factors that could be changed were smoking, being in poor physical shape, having more fat concentrated in the abdominal area, and having high blood pressure.

It is interesting to note that women who were underweight were at an increased risk of dying, and heavier women had a lower risk - but only if they didn't carry their weight around their midsections.

What you can do to improve your odds for a long life…

Fortunately, several lifestyle changes can increase your chances of a long, healthy life:

Maintain a healthy weight: Especially aim to lose that tummy fat, as studies have shown that this type of fat distribution leads to heart disease.

Get in shape: Exercise decreases the chances of diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. It also helps balance blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and raises HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

Don't smoke: By not smoking, you could drastically reduce your chances of dying from cancer or heart disease.

Keep tabs on your blood pressure: By getting regular exercise, not smoking, and eating a healthful diet, you can help keep your blood pressure at an optimal level.

Of these factors, smoking stood out as particularly hazardous. Smoking causes lung cancer, which accounted for more than 25% of cancer deaths among the women.

It also causes chronic respiratory illnesses like emphysema and contributes to heart disease. "The strong association of smoking with mortality is a critical reminder that smoking is the most important modifiable risk factor that physicians and society should address, even in older women," the researchers said.

(Arch Intern Med 2006;2469-77)

Source: Lifeline Newsletter March 2007

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for a healthy lifestyle:

Fish Oil 1500 - Odourless
Good Green Stuff
Inner Health Plus
Mineral Power
Multi 100
Multi-Vite
Quit-Smoke
Superior Magnesium
Superior Iron
Waihi Bush Flax Seed Oil
Whey Protein Vanilla
Multi for Women

Related health information can be found here:

Antioxidants
Blood pressure and hypertension
Cardio Vascular Health
Cholesterol
Diabetes and insulin resistance
Energy
Immunity
Multivite - why taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is so essential?
Neuromuscular system and nutritional support
Weight loss naturally

Related articles can be found here:

Chlorophyll- Nature's Green Wonder Food
Doctors Recommend a Multi-Vitamin a Day
Is It Really "all in your Food"?
Minerals: Critical for well-being
Multis Improve Heart Health
Which Multivitamin?

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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