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It's Never Too Late

Charlyn Fargo on

Here's proof it's never too late to start making some healthy lifestyle changes. They can make a difference later in life.

New research finds that a diet of vegetables and other healthy foods, combined with a routine of regular physical activity, is key to middle-aged adults achieving optimal cardiovascular health later in life. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study analyzed data from 2,379 adult participants of the Framingham Heart Study, which began more than 70 years ago in Framingham, Massachusetts. Adults who met two recommendations during midlife had lower odds of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of disorders that include excess fat around the waist, insulin resistance and high blood pressure) and developing serious health conditions in their senior years. Those conditions included heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers found 28% met recommendations of both physical activity and dietary guidelines. Another 47% met recommendations in at least one of the two areas.

The physical activity guidelines were based on the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans -- 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. The dietary guidelines were based on the recommendations in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate: half your plate fruits and vegetables, a quarter lean protein, a quarter whole grains, and low-fat dairy on the side.

Even achieving one of the guidelines in midlife made a difference. Participants who followed the physical activity recommendations had 51% lower odds of metabolic syndrome. Participants who adhered just to the dietary guidelines had 33% lower odds. Participants who followed both guidelines had 65% lower odds of developing metabolic syndrome.

 

If you knew you could prevent diabetes, stroke or heart disease later in life just by exercising daily and eating healthier, would you do it? If your answer is yes, I'm confident you'll be glad you started making those changes as soon as possible.

It's never too late.

Q and A

Q: Does how you cook vegetables matter nutritionally?

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