70-year olds reap benefits of playing high school sports
If you know a healthy, physically fit, 70-year old man, ask him if he played high school sports. Chances are he’ll say yes according to new research.
In a study titled, “Fit in 50 Years,” lead researchers report that men who were athletic 50 years ago are more likely to be active and healthier into their late 70s.
Back in 2000, researchers from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab identified more than 700 World War II veterans who reported being in great shape in their teen years and having passed strenuous military physical exams.
Study leaders surveyed them while they were in their mid-70s to see how often they needed to visit a doctor or seek medical care. That data was then analyzed in 2012.
The surprising result was that those who were high school athletes also reported visiting their doctor less frequently now in their later years than those who didn’t play a sport.
Additionally, the researchers found that “the best predictor of whether a healthy young man would regularly exercise 50 years later was simply whether he had played a team or individual sport in high school. Many of those who played a high school sport were still active compared to those who didn’t.”
Researchers hope the findings will encourage young people to get active in either organized high school athletics or to work out regularly on their own.
“The results emphasize the necessity of encouraging youths to regularly engage in athletic programs and other exercise activities such as swimming or dance,” the report said.
In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
And more than 80 percent of adolescents do not participate in enough aerobic physical activity to meet the national guidelines for youth physical activity, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The lack of physical activity and the growing obesity epidemic in youth can have devastating effects on their health and well-being. The CDC reveals that youth who are obese are more likely to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, and are at a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and poor self-esteem
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