Monday November 19, 2018

Older adults have mixed effect because of social support

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Singapore: An Indian origin researcher’s study suggested that social support provided to older adults by family and friends, is not the only postive effect on their mental health but it is mixed blessing.

Assistant professor Rahul Malhotra and Shannon Ang from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore found that receipt of social support reduced depressive symptoms among older individuals, but at the same time made them feel like they had lost control over their lives.

The study, published recently in the journal Social Science and Medicine, linked this loss of control to increased depressive symptoms among older adults, which counteracted the positive effect of receiving social support.

The researchers analysed data collected from surveys administered to 2,766 older adults aged 62 to 97 who were part of the Panel of Health and Aging in Singaporean Elderly (PHASE).

“While receiving social support may help older people feel a sense of belonging or enhance their relationship closeness with the provider, it can also impact them negatively because it reduces their sense of control over their own lives,” said Ang, a research assistant at Duke-NUS.

Malhotra and Ang suggested that in order for social support to improve the overall mental health of older adults, both care-givers and policy-makers should be aware of both its negative and positive effects.

“Our findings have implications for policy-makers because it points toward the importance of crafting policies and encouraging ways to provide support to older persons that can help them maintain their sense of control over their own lives,” said senior author Malhotra.

“We need to think of ways in which we can help older adults without increasing their sense of dependence,” he added.

The new findings are contrary to the common notion that more social support is always good.

(IANS)

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Exercising Too Little Puts Your Health At Risk: WHO

In wealthier countries, the researchers said, a transition toward more sedentary jobs as well as sedentary forms of recreation and transport could explain higher levels of inactivity.

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People gather for physical exercise in Nantes, France. VOA

More than a quarter of the world’s adults — 1.4 billion people — exercise too little, putting them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancers, according to a World Health Organization-led study.

In 2016, around one in three women and one in four men worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy — at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

There has been no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001, according to the study, which was conducted by WHO researchers and published Tuesday in The Lancet Global Health.

The highest rates of lack of exercise in 2016 were in adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, where more than half of all adults were not active enough to protect their health.

Exercise
Inactivity Puts Quarter of Adults’ Health at Risk, WHO Says. Pixabay

By comparison, around 40 percent of adults in the United States, 36 percent in Britain and 14 percent in China did too little exercise to stay healthy.

“Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health,” said Regina Guthold of the WHO, who co-led the research.

Noncommunicable diseases

The WHO says insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for premature death worldwide. It raises the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

By becoming more active, it says, people can easily achieve benefits such as improve muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness, better bone health, weight control and reduced risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer.

Exercise
Heart patients should focus on exercise than weight loss. Pixabay

The study found that levels of low physical activity were more than twice as great in high-income countries compared with poorer nations, and had increased by 5.0 percent in richer countries from 2001 to 2016.

Also Read: Eating in 10-hour Window May Boost Health

In wealthier countries, the researchers said, a transition toward more sedentary jobs as well as sedentary forms of recreation and transport could explain higher levels of inactivity. In less well-off countries, people tend to be more active at work and for transport, they said.

They urged governments to take note of these changes and put in place infrastructures that promote walking and cycling for transport and active sports and recreation. (VOA)