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International Health Insurance News: Healthy diet and exercise 'improves health of older women'

Women in their 70s can prolong their life expectancy by eating large amounts of vegetables and fruits, as well as exercising regularly.

This is according to an investigation published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, which was undertaken by international healthcare experts and scientists at John Hopkins University and the University of Michigan.

Researchers analysed 713 females between the ages of 70 and 79 who had participated in the Women's Health and Aging Studies at the institution.

They revealed individuals who had the highest consumption of healthy foodstuffs and that took part in the largest amount of exercise were eight times more likely to be alive after the five-year follow-up period than those people with the smallest rates of physical activity or fruit and vegetable consumption.

Scientists analysed the proportion of carotenoids within the women's bloodstream to estimate the amount of healthy food they ate, as these substances are beneficial pigments within plant matter that the human body turns into antioxidants.

It is already known exercise and good food choices have a number of positive health benefits, such as reducing the risk of people suffering from heart disease.

During the five-year follow-up investigation, 11.5 per cent of the research subjects had died.

Although 53 per cent of women involved in the study did not work out at all, 26 per cent were deemed to be the most active, while 21 per cent took part in moderate levels of physical activity.

The surviving group of participants had 12 per cent higher levels of serum carotenoid than those who passed on, while their physical activity levels were more than 100 per cent greater than the females who had died.

"A number of studies have measured the positive impact of exercise and healthy eating on life expectancy, but what makes this study unique is that we looked at these two factors together," lead author Dr Emily Nicklett from the University of Michigan School of Social Work stated.

"Policies to promote longevity should include interventions to improve nutrition and physical activity in older adults," she added. 

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