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30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Exercising at least 30 minutes four or five days a week (150 mins a week) is associated with a reduced risk of death and cardiovascular disease, according to the study of physical activity tracking 130,000 people in 17 countries.

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.

Though there is no cure for this condition, one can choose to lead a healthy lifestyle to lower the risk of heart failures, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Being highly active (750 mins a week) is associated with an even greater reduction, and the authors found that this was more achievable for those who built physical activity into their day through active transport, job type, or housework.

The researchers claimed that exercise could reverse damage to sedentary, ageing hearts and help to prevent the risk of future heart failure.

“Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past five years, this ‘dose’ of exercise has become my prescription for life. I think people should be able to do this as part of their personal hygiene – just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower,” said study’s lead author Dr Benjamin Levine.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommend that adults aged 18-64 years old do at least 150 minutes of moderate to intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, as well as muscle strengthening exercises at least two days a week.

Levine noted, “When the muscle stiffens, you get high pressure and the heart chamber doesn’t fill as well with blood. In its most severe form, blood can back up into the lungs. That’s when heart failure develops.”

In the study, participants aged 35-70 years old from urban and rural areas in 17 countries across various world regions completed questionnaires on their levels of physical activity.

In the beginning of the study, each participant provided information on their socioeconomic status, lifestyle behaviors, medical history, family history of cardiovascular disease, weight, height, waist and hip measurements, and blood pressure.

They also completed a questionnaire on the types of physical activity they completed over a typical week, which the researchers used to calculate their average activity levels.

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Of the 106970 people who met the activity guidelines, 3.8% developed cardiovascular disease, compared to 5.1% of people who did not (23549 people). Risk of mortality was also higher for people who did not meet the recommended amount of activity — 6.4% compared to 4.2% for people who met guidelines.

The findings suggest that, if the entire population met physical activity guidelines, 8% of deaths (equivalent to around one in 12 cases) and 4.6% of cardiovascular disease cases (almost one in 20 cases) could be prevented.

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Health

Red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase risk of colon cancer

Raghu Kshitiz

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Heavy diet like red meats, refined grains, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

These foods all increase inflammation in our body, and the inflammation they cause is associated with a higher chance of developing colon cancer, according to pooled data from two major health studies appeared in JAMA Oncology journal.

According to researchers, a diet high in foods with the potential to cause inflammation, including meats, refined grains and high-calorie beverages, was associated with increased risk of developing colorectal cancer for men and women.

Basically, what makes for a healthy diet overall also appears to promote a cancer-free colon, said senior researcher Dr. Edward Giovannucci. He is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“It’s consistent with what we already recommend for a healthy diet in general,” Giovannucci said, adding “I see that as good news. We’re supporting the current evidence, and not telling people to do something completely different from what they’ve been told.”

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For the study, conducted by Fred K Tabung from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the team analysed 1,21,050 male and female health care professionals, who were followed for 26 years in long-term studies. The researchers completed the food questionnaires about what they ate, on the basis of which data analysis was done last year.

The scores were based on 18 food groups characterised for their inflammatory potential and were then calculated from the questionnaires given to participants every four years.

The results indicated that higher scores reflecting inflammation-causing diets were associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer in men and women.

Previous studies have linked diet factors with colon cancer, but there’s been no clear explanation why that might be, he added.

With Agency Inputs

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