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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] All work and no play… Could too much sitting at work be affecting your health?

From the 11 October 2013 post at Cardiac Exercise Research Group  – The K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine’s blog about exercise and cardiac health

There remains little doubt that lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle represent key health problems in today’s modern society. A quick search on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website and you’ll find that physical inactivity ranks 4th in the global leading risk factors for mortality, with many countries around the world demonstrating a trend for women to be less active than men. While health organisations around the world are making a concerted effort to encourage the general public to incorporate exercise into their leisure and free time, this may not be the only period of our day that is dominated by sedentary behavior. Work forms one of the largest segments of sedentary time for employed individuals, and current trends have shifted parts of the working population into less active, ‘sitting’ jobs.

But what does this mean for our long-term health? One study, published last month in PLoS ONE, aimed to answer this question by assessing the impact of occupational sitting on the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality from a large number of British men and women. Stamatakis and colleagues gathered data from identical health surveys conducted in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2004. Subjects (5380 women, 5788 men) were classified based on whether the majority of time in their job was spent walking, standing or sitting. Subjects were further categorized on levels of physical activity during free time, alcohol intake, smoking, socioeconomic status, and whether they had cardiovascular disease or cancer at the time of the survey. The mortality rate (number of deaths) was then monitored over a 13 year follow-up period.

Tired businessman sleeping on chair in office with his legs on tThe major findings reported by this study were that standing/walking occupations carried a lower risk of mortality from either all-causes or cancer, in women but not men. When the researchers further compared groups based on free-time physical activity levels, they found that in both men and women, high levels of free-time physical activity coupled with a standing/walking occupation was associated with a lower risk of cancer and all-cause mortality versus low free-time activity coupled with sitting occupation. At first glance, it could be easy to take the results at face value, but there are limitations to the study design which the authors themselves highlight: Much of the data is self-reported, which may introduce bias, especially when it comes to levels of physical activity during free-time. In addition, there was no information available on how long individuals had been in their current jobs, nor was there any data for people switching jobs during the 13 year follow-up, which may have eventually placed them into a different category. The findings are also surprising given that a similar study published earlier in the year, found that even moderate free-time exercise was enough to reduce the risk of both cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, regardless of levels of physical activity in work.

The issue still seems unresolved, and it has also been discussed here on the blog earlier. Current exercise recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health suggest daily physical activity levels should be at least 30 min, a total 3.5 hours per week, which has been shown in a number of studies to confer significant benefits to health and an overall decrease in mortality rates. However, a busy lifestyle, coupled with raising a family may make this target difficult to reach during our leisure time, making activity levels at work a significant factor in overall health. Everything is better than nothing, and maintaining a physically active lifestyle outside of work hours will contribute significantly to achieve the health benefits of exercise. However, if you’re still worried and have been sat at your desk for the last few hours, when you reach the end of this sentence, why not stand up and take a walk?

Allen Kelly, post doc at CERG.

 

 

Read the entire article here

 

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Releases Estimates of Rates of Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity for all U.S. Counties

CDC Releases Estimates of Rates of Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity for
all U.S. Counties

County-Level Map for Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity, 2008

A map of the United States shows county-level estimates of leisure-time physical inactivity in quartiles.  County-level estimates of age-adjusted rates of leisure-time physical inactivity ranged from 10.1% to 43.0%.  Counties in the highest quartiles (29.2% or greater) were located primarily in Appalachia and the South.  Counties in the lowest quartiles (23.2% or lower) were located primarily in Western states and some Northeastern states.

Estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Americans who live in parts of Appalachia and the South are the least likely to be physically active in their leisure time, and residents who are most likely to be active in their free time are from the West
Coast, Colorado, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast.

The 2004-2008 estimates, posted online at http://cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/inactivity.htm provide county-level estimates for leisure-time physical inactivity for all U.S.

 

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Playtime helps bind generations

Playtime helps bind generations

 

A new study has confirmed an old adage: a family that plays together stays together.

From the February 14, 2011 Eureka news alert

(Concordia University) A new study has confirmed an old adage: A family that plays together stays together. Researchers from Concordia University and Wilfrid Laurier University examined the ways grandparents can maintain close ties with their adult grandchildren. True to the old maxim, recreation emerged as the glue sealing intergenerational bonds.

Montreal, February 14, 2010 – A new study has confirmed an old adage: A family that plays together stays together. Researchers from Concordia University and Wilfrid Laurier University examined the ways grandparents can maintain close ties with their adult grandchildren. True to the old maxim, recreation emerged as the glue sealing intergenerational bonds.

“Leisure is vital in the formation of bonds that last from generation to generation,” says lead author Shannon Hebblethwaite, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of Applied Human Sciences. “Shared leisure time allows grandchildren and their grandparents to establish common interests that, in turn, enable them to develop strong intergenerational relationships.”

Published in Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, the study builds on previous research that found healthy intergenerational connections help grandparents age better and feel more positively about life. “The study of intergenerational bonds in adult grandchildren is relatively new,” says Hebblethwaite. “Little attention has been paid to this relationship, yet grandparenting will become increasingly relevant as North America’s population ages.”

This new study is among the first to examine a cohort of grandchildren and their grandparents. “Most studies look into parenting, children or seniors. Few have examined how leisure contributes to the bonds between adult grandchildren and grandparents in the same family.”

Gardening with grandma

Sixteen retired or semiretired grandparents, aged 65 to 89, took part in the investigation as well as 14 grandchildren aged 18 to 24. Occasions that typically brought generations together included vacations, holiday celebrations, cooking, shopping and gardening.

Grandparents often use such get-togethers as opportunities to teach, mentor and pass on legacies. “They share family histories, personal experiences and life lessons,” says Hebblethwaite. “They pass on family values, traditions and stressed the importance of family cohesion.”

Although finding common interests between generations can pose a challenge – i.e. should Katy Perry or Elvis Presley be the soundtrack for a road trip? – participants stressed how joint activities allowed them to learn from each other. “One young man recalled his initial resistance to baking pies with his grandmother, but he ended up being a great chef,” observes Hebblethwaite.

Exchanging with youth can be a catalyst for discovery among seniors as well. “Some grandparents learned about email, video-conferencing or technology through their grandchildren to stay connected with them,” she says. “Sharing of knowledge during such leisure pursuits is what allows grandparents and grandchildren to develop strong bonds.”

Forging strong ties with the matriarch or patriarch of a clan is beneficial for grandchildren, too, and can sharpen their sense of empathy, says Hebblethwaite. “After being doted on as kids, adult grandchildren have an opportunity to shift that dynamic and give back to their grandparents.”

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Partners in research:
This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

About the study:
“Expressions of Generativity Through Family Leisure: Experiences of Grandparents and Adult Grandchildren,” published in Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, was authored by Shannon Hebblethwaite of Concordia University and Joan Norris of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Related links:

Related article

Parents Have Stronger Relationship When Dad Plays With Kids

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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