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Subsidizing Health Activites in Mid-Life Reduces Later-Life Health Costs

Posted Jun 16 2012 10:09pm
Posted on June 14, 2012, 6 a.m. in Exercise | Healthcare and Public Policy |

Promoting fitness in middle-age by subsidizing exercise and fitness activities could help to dramatically reduce the cost of medical care in later years, new research suggests. Dr Justin Bachman, M.D., cardiology fellow at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, and colleagues studied data obtained from the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, a database of health-related data concerning nearly 100,000 people collected over the last 40 years.  The aim of the study was to determine whether higher levels of physical fitness in middle-age were associated with lower healthcare costs later in life. Results showed that this was indeed the case, with the fittest study participants healthcare costs later in life being a highly significant 38% lower than those of participants who were the least-fit when middle-aged. Even after accounting for risk factors, such as smoking status, body-mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol levels, a better fitness level at middle-age was still associated with lower healthcare costs later in life.  Results also showed that the average annual claim for medical costs for the least-fit men was $5,134, approximately 36% higher than the average of $3,277 a year for the fittest men. Meanwhile, the average medical claim for the least-fit women was $4,565, approximately 40% higher than the $2,755 average for the fittest women.

Justin Bachmann, M.D., cardiology fellow, University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Suzanne Steinbaum, M.D., preventive cardiologist and director of women and heart disease, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; May 10, 2012, presentation, American Heart Association meeting, Atlanta

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290. Call of the Wild
Experimental psychologists have associated spending time in a nature setting with increased energy and heightened sense of well-being, and have even reported that the activity of simply recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health. Recent studies suggest that:
• Nature boosts vitality: University of Rochester (New York, USA) team conducted a series of five studies, involving 537 college students, and found that across all study situations, subjects consistently felt more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in such situations. Exposure to the outside nature setting for as little as 20 minutes in a day was sufficient to significantly boost vitality levels...
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