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Body size 'influences women's lifespan'

Tuesday January 22nd, 2019

Body size, weight and height could influence a woman’s lifespan more than it influences a man’s, a Dutch study published last night has claimed.

The research found that while physical activity is important for both men and women, 60 minutes a day of activity for women was associated with the best chance of living to an old age. This compares with men, for whom the more physically active they are, the better.

The observational study, which looked at the differences between men and women, involved data analysis from the Netherlands Cohort Study (NLCS) of more than 120,000 men and women who were aged between 55 and 69 when it began in 1986. Researcher Lloyd Brandts, of Maastricht University, publishes the results in the latest edition of Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The study examined 3,646 men and 4,161 women aged between 68 and 70, all of whom provided detailed information in 1986 on their weight, height, weight when aged 20, and the amount of physical activity they did.

Participants were then monitored until death or the age of 90, whichever came first.

A total of 433 men (16.7%) and 944 women (34.4%) survived to the age of 90 and researchers found that nonagenarian women were, on average taller, had weighed less at the start of the study and had put on less weight since the age of 20 than those who were shorter and heavier.

Men who did more than 90 minutes a day of exercise were 39% more likely to reach 90 than those who did less than 30 minutes. Every extra 30 minutes of daily physical activity they did was associated with a 5% increase in their chances of turning 90.

However, women who did more than 30-60 minutes a day were 21% more likely to reach 90 than those who did 30 minutes or less, but about 60 minutes a day was associated with the best chance of reaching the milestone.

Brandts L, van den Brandt PA. Body size, non-occupational physical activity and the chance of reaching longevity in men and women: findings from the Netherlands Cohort Study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 21 January 2019; doi: 10.1136/jech-2018-211410

http://jech.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/jech-2018-211410

Tags: Europe | Fitness | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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