Health Notes: Engage in healthy behaviors, live a longer life; aerobic exercise blasts belly fat

In SNEWS® Health Notes, an occasional series, we take a look at recent health research that might be pertinent to your business. In this report, SNEWS takes a look at the results of a study concluding people who practice healthy lifestyle behaviors live longer, and another that determines aerobic exercise is the best way to lose dangerous belly fat.

You want information about health, physical activity, exercise and wellness, but you don’t want all the techno-science garble that makes most reports overwhelming to read, let alone understand or pass on to customers. In SNEWS® Health Notes, an occasional series, we take a look at recent research that is pertinent to your business and explain it in a way that makes sense. If you have suggestions or comments, let us know by emailing

>> People live longer if they practice healthy lifestyle behaviors

Not surprisingly, people who eat healthy diets, exercise regularly, don’t smoke and limit alcohol consumption live longer according to results from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study.

According to the study, people who engaged in all four of these behaviors were 63 percent less likely to die early compared with people who didn’t engage in the behaviors.

Among the survey’s 16,958 participants ages 17 and older (who were recruited from 1988 to 1994 and followed through 2006) who engaged in all four healthy behaviors, 66 percent were less likely to die early of cancer, 65 percent were less likely to die early of cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent were less likely to die early of other causes, compared with people who did not engage in any of the healthy behaviors.

“If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas R. Frieden said in a news release.

So what? Engaging in healthy behaviors is obviously good for a person, but the study stated the problem is getting people to do it. If people were going to choose one vice to cut out, it should be smoking, because the study said those who didn’t smoke had less risk of dying from the diseases examined – even if they engaged in the other behaviors.

For the scientifically minded: Find the abstract at no charge here, or the full article (for a fee) here.

>> Aerobic exercise the ticket to losing belly fat

Duke University Medical Center researchers recently pitted aerobic exercise against resistance training to see which blasts belly fat better. The winner? Aerobic exercise, which burned 67 percent more calories compared to resistance training.

“Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass,” Cris Slentz, Duke exercise physiologist and lead author of the study published in the American Journal of Physiology said in a news release, “but if you are overweight, which two-thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories.”

Belly fat, the study noted, could lead to problems like heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

“When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have,” Slentz said.

The eight-month study followed 196 overweight, sedentary adults ages 18 to 70. The participants were randomly selected for one of three groups: aerobic training, resistance training, or a combination of the two.

The aerobic group performed exercises equivalent to 12 miles of jogging per week at 80-percent maximum heart rate, and the resistance group performed three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, three times per week.

So what? Belly fat – no matter how thin the rest of your body is – could lead to various health problems. The key to losing that belly fat is aerobic exercise, and Slentz said what counts is how much exercise a person does. The more you do, the better the results.

For the scientifically minded: Find the abstract at no cost here. The full article is available to view for free here