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Physical Activity Improves Walking Capacity In Chilean Elderly

April 20, 2011

Policies to promote healthy ageing often emphasize a healthy diet and maintaining physical activity. But currently there is little good evidence to support the benefits of improved nutrition and increased physical activity levels for older adults from low-income or transition economies. Alan Dangour from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, and colleagues report this week in PLoS Medicine the outcomes of the Cost-effectiveness Evaluation of a Nutritional supplement and EXercise program for older people “” CENEX “” which evaluated whether Chile’s national nutritional supplementation and physical exercise program prevented pneumonia and physical functional decline in older people in Santiago, and whether these interventions were cost-effective. Using a cluster randomized trial design they found that during the 2-year trial the incidence rate of pneumonia did not differ between intervention and control groups but, at the end of the study period, there was a significant difference in walking capacity between the intervention and control clusters. Therefore, the provision of locally-available physical activity classes to older people could be of clinical benefit, especially in urban settings.

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