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New study reaffirms exercise and health connection

November 12, 2018

In what may be one of the most obvious opening sentences in a newspaper story ever, exercise has been once again linked to fitness and long-term mortality.

The new study was published in October in JAMA Network Open. One of the findings indicated the adjusted mortality risk of reduced athletic performance was comparable to, if not significantly greater than, traditional clinical risk factors, such as diabetes and smoking.

The study should be read with keen eyes in Somerset County, which has an issue with sedentary lifestyles that shows up on the health indicators kept by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Sixty-nine percent of Somerset County residents are overweight and 35 percent of them are obese.

Aimee Krause, Somerset Hospital clinical nutrition manager, said it’s a statewide issue. She said a good exercise program should be supplemented by a proper diet.

“Obesity puts individuals at a high risk for coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea and breathing problems and even some cancers. The list goes on even further than this,” she wrote in an email. “One of the great things about nutrition is that it is a modifiable risk factor. Some things such as genetics, age, race, ethnicity we are unable to change — but we can change to food choices that we make throughout the day to take control!”

She said Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities can also be challenging for weight maintenance.

“With the holidays right around the corner,” Krause said, “it’s important to remember that it is 1 day of celebrating — not an entire week which can often happen with work parties and get togethers with friends and family.”

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