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Fragmented physical activity and mortality risk

By: Lydia L. Kim, Digital Content Editor

A new study published in JAMA Network Open reveals new insights into mortality risk in older adult patients.

Historically, reduced physical activity in older adults has been seen as one of the greatest risks for mortality, but this new study reveals that “fragmentation of physical activity,” or activity that is more episodic and briefer, may be a stronger indicator of mortality risk in this sensitive population.

The lead author of the study, Amal Wanigatunga, PhD, Assistant Scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology says: “Fragmentation of physical activity may be an early indicator of increasing mortality risk…By examining these patterns of routine activity and the decline in patterns of fragmented activity, we can begin to identify trajectories toward premature serious illness and death sooner and work to develop interventions and preventive strategies to reverse it.”

Wanigatunga goes on to discuss the implications this study may have for healthcare providers because simply suggesting more exercise to patients who are becoming less active may not be sufficient enough to increase their activity. Healthcare providers may need to “wield exercise formally as medicine,” says Wanigatunga.

Please read more about this study here.




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