Archive for July, 2012

Count (On) It: Pedometer Use Promotes Activity in Seniors.

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Healthy Steps Trial: Pedometer-Based Advice and Physical Activity for Low-Active Older Adults, a study published in the May/June issue of Annals of Family Medicine, declares: “Pedometers may improve the efficacy of the activity prescription by providing regular objective monitoring and feedback to assist motivation.”

The team of scientists that conducted the study, led by Dr. Gregory S. Kolt from the University of Australia, examined the effectiveness of New Zealand’s Green Prescription, “a nationally supported and funded intervention delivered through primary care to increase physical activity.” Their “randomized controlled trial” involved “330 low-active adults”—165 in the prescription group, 165 in the control (time-based) group.

The results were dramatic. At 12 months, according to the report, “leisure walking increased by 49.6 min/wk for the pedometer Green Prescription compared with 28.1 min/wk for the standard Green Prescription.”

“Pedometers, in this study, likely improved the efficacy of the activity prescription by providing regular objective monitoring and feedback to assist motivation,” says the study. “This function is achieved through participants’ ability to see the number of steps attained through particular activities and throughout the day.

“It could be that the pedometers encouraged more achievable and sustainable increases in habitual physical activity that are not necessarily supported by a time-based prescription.”

There’s clear evidence for the benefits of an active lifestyle, yet according to Healthy Steps, “[o]lder adults are at a particular risk of low levels of physical activity.” That’s no light news, as “increasing physical activity reduces risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, obesity, injury, osteoporosis, and depression,” and also “improves psychological functioning.”

And with pedometers at affordable prices (under $20), a pedometer might just be a worthwhile investment to get you on the right track toward a rejuvenated, healthier, more “fit” lifestyle.


Exercise and Vitamin D Can Help Prevent falling

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
A new U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that “vitamin D supplementation has moderate benefit in preventing falls in this population,” and concludes “with moderate certainty that vitamin D supplementation has moderate net benefit in preventing falls in older adults.”

The report, Prevention of Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: U.S Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement, comes at a critical time. It is no secret that falls are the leading cause of injury in adults aged 65 years or older. According the report, between “30% and 40% of community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older fall at least once per year.” And that is why it is so critical to take interventional steps toward preventing these falls among geriatric patients.

According to a New York Times article on the report, “[i]n a review of nine trials, the task force found that a daily dose of 800 international units (I.U.) reduced the risk of falling by about 17 percent, compared with those who did not take the vitamin.” One should therefore discuss Vitamin D supplementation with his or her care specialist, especially if he or she has a history of falling.

The Task Force recommends two additional preventive measures against falls in its May 29 statement. One, it concludes “with high certainty that exercise or physical therapy has moderate net benefit in preventing falls in older adults.” Two, it concludes “with moderate certainty that multifactorial risk assessment with comprehensive management of identified risks has a small net benefit in preventing falls in older adults.” These measures should also be taken into consideration with your care specialist in order to reduce your fall risk