Health matters

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The more they burn, the better they learn

Physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and it can be especially important in helping youngsters do better in school, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Youngsters ages 6 to 17 should aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Whether it’s playing at recess, shooting hoops after school or riding bikes, youngsters need to be active to:

  • Build and maintain healthy

bones and muscles.

  • Reduce the risk of

obesity and the risk of

developing chronic

diseases,such as diabetes,

cardiovascular disease

and colon cancer.

  • Increase confidence by

reducing feelings of

depression and anxiety

and promoting psychological

well being.

  • Improve academic

performance with better

concentration and

attentiveness in the

classroom.

Midlife fitness means lower healthcare costs in old age

Physically fit, healthy middle-aged adults have significantly lower healthcare costs as they age compared to their less physically fit counterparts, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s 2012 Scientific Sessions.

The study tracked Medicare coverage in 20,489 healthy people free of prior heart attack, stroke or cancer, from 1990-2009. The average age was 51, and 21 percent were women. Risk factors and physical fitness were determined at the beginning of the study.

Compared to people in the lowest fitness category, those in the highest categories at age 51 had significantly lower healthcare costs after age 65.

For men, after age 65, annual costs were $3,277 for those in the highest fitness category compared to $5,134 for those in the lowest fitness category.

For women, those in the highest fitness range spent $2,755 annually, while those in the lowest fitness category spent $4,565 per year.

Get immunized

Immunizations are not just for kids! Regardless of age, we all need immunizations to keep us healthy. With time, immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off, and you may be at risk for new and different diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The specific immunizations you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel and previous immunizations. Throughout your adult life, you need immunizations to get and maintain protection against:

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) —

All adults

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and

pertussis (whooping cough)

— All adults who have not

previously received the Tdap

vaccine

  • Shingles — Adults 60 and

older

  • Pneumococcal disease

(pneumonia) — Adults 65 and

older and those with specific

health conditions.

  • Hepatitis B — Adults who

have diabetes or are at risk

for hepatitis B

Other vaccinations you may need include those that protect against human papillomavirus (which can cause certain cancers), hepatitis A, meningococcal disease, chickenpox (varicella), and measles, mumps and rubella.

Ask your doctor which vaccines are recommended for you.

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