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Fruits, Veggies, and Activity May Lengthen Life for Older Women

Older Woman Eating Salad

Being active and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may lengthen the life among women in their seventies, suggests a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In the study, scientists looked at carotenoid levels and activity habits of 713 participants of the Women's Health and Aging Studies. At the start of the study, the women were 70 to 79 years old. Carotenoid levels are a key marker of fruit and vegetable consumption. Researchers calculated physical activity levels based on questionnaire data.

Among the participants, slightly over half were sedentary; 20 percent were moderately active and slightly over a quarter were in the most active group.

After tracking the women for five years, the scientists found that the women who were the most physically active were more likely to survive during the study compared to the least active. And having high levels of carotenoids also improved survival, when compared to the lowest levels. The women who were most physically active and had the highest fruit and vegetable consumption were eight times more likely to survive the five-year follow-up period than the women with the lowest levels.

Source: Emily J. Nicklett, Richard D. Semba, Qian-Li Xue, Jing Tian, Kai Sun, Anne R. Cappola, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Luigi Ferrucci, Linda P. Fried. Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Physical Activity, and Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2012; 60 (5): 862.

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