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More Physical Activity, Less Sitting Beneficial for Seniors

Global mental, physical health improved with more MPVA, less sitting for seniors with, without cancer history

Senior man riding bicycle

TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For older adults, more moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) and lower duration of sitting are associated with higher global mental and physical health, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in Cancer.

Erika Rees-Punia, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined differences in global mental health (GMH) and global physical health (GPH) across levels of MVPA and sitting among 3,718 cancer survivors one to five years after diagnosis; 4,248 cancer survivors six to 10 years after diagnosis; and 69,860 participants with no history of cancer (age, 77.8 ± 5.8 years).

The researchers found that compared with cancer survivor groups, participants with no history of cancer had statistically significantly higher mean GMH and GPH scores, although the differences were not clinically meaningful (mean difference, 0.52 and 0.88 for GMH and GPH, respectively). For all three groups, there was an association seen for more MVPA with higher GMH and GPH scores; clinically meaningful differences were found between the least and most active participants (mean difference, ≥4.34 and ≥6.39 for GMH and GPH, respectively). For all groups, a lower duration of sitting was associated with higher GMH and GPH scores, with clinically meaningful differences between the least and most sedentary participants (mean differences, ≥2.74 and ≥3.75 for GMH and GPH, respectively).

"The findings reinforce the importance of moving more and sitting less for both physical and mental health, no matter your age or history of cancer," Rees-Punia said in a statement.

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