Older web users have better health
Researchers in England say that older men and women who are avid web users are more likely to have healthier diets, exercise more, smoke less and are more likely to take advantage of disease prevention screenings compared to those who avoid the Internet.
Specifically, the results of the large study showed that older Net users were twice as likely to get screened for colon cancer, 50 percent more likely to engage in cardio exercises and 24 percent more likely to eat the recommended number of fruits and vegetables daily.
Study leaders said they see a “digital divide,” and that Internet use was higher in younger, male, white, wealthier, and more educated participants and lower in older, less wealthy, and nonwhite individuals with physical disabilities.
“It is important that policymakers recognize the role Internet use plays in influencing inequalities in cancer outcomes, and help increase access to the internet among this demographic,” said Christian von Wagner, Ph.D.,at University College London, United Kingdom, in a news release.
Nearly 6,000 people participated in answering survey questions beginning in 2002, and were given follow-up questions every two years until 2011. Participants answered questions about their exercise routines, diets, colon and breast cancer screenings along with the frequency of their time online. The findings were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
This isn’t the first time good health habits have been linked to active and engaged minds among senior citizens. A recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences found that when people continually keep their mind active they can make a big impact on their intellectual thinking for the future.
“Retirement usually occurs right around the time when normal age-related declines in cognitive function come to the fore,” says study author Larry Baer, in a statement. “So it is important to understand what is happening to brainpower during this period and to identify risk factors for mental decline, as well as factors that will help protect against it.”
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