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19.10.2020


A longevity drug that protects against almost all causes of death

There is a longevity drug that protects against deadly cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer and even suicidal depression. And this miracle drug is exercise, epidemiologists at Hallym University College of Medicine in South Korea discovered.

Study
The researchers used data from half a million adult South Koreans collected by the Korean National Health Insurance Service. The researchers knew how much physical activity the study participants had on a daily basis.

If the study participants had at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for at least 5 days, they were labeled as 'sufficient physical activity'. This was also the case if study participants exercised intensively for at least 20 minutes at least 3 times a week.

The researchers identified 167,413 study participants with sufficient physical activity. They then also put together a group of study participants who did not exercise sufficiently, but corresponded in terms of age, sex, income and place of residence to the study participants who did exercise sufficiently. The researchers then compared the mortality in the two matched groups.

Results
Among the study participants with sufficient physical activity, the risk of death was 20 percent lower than among the study participants in the other group.

Click on the figure below for a larger version.


A longevity drug that protects against almost all causes of death


When the researchers broke down their data, they saw that body weight was not a factor in the protective effect of physical activity. Sufficient physical activity reduced the risk of death regardless of BMI.

Age was a factor, however. The protective effect of exercise was statistically significant in people over 60, not in people under 60. If the researchers had raised the bar on minimum exercise, this might have been different.

It was also striking that the researchers were unable to pin down the protective effect of physical activity on a few physical causes of death. Movement protected against deadly forms of, for example, cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and - last but not least - against fatal mental illness.

The figure below has been simplified. Click on it for a full version.


A longevity drug that protects against almost all causes of death


Source:
BMC Public Health. 2020 Sep 29;20(1):1469.

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