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Steps and Health: A Step in the Right Direction for Older Women

Step in the Right Direction for Older Women
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Written by Andrew Le, MD.
Medically reviewed by
Clinical Physician Assistant, Summit Health
Last updated May 26, 2024

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Should women over 60 count their steps or minutes of activity for better health? A new study suggests either metric works well for reducing health risks.

In a cohort study of older women from the Women's Health Study, researchers found that time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and step counts were similarly related to lower all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD). This suggests step count goals might be included in physical activity guidelines alongside time-based recommendations, suiting personal preferences.

The study included 14,399 women (mean age 71.8 years) who were free from CVD and cancer at baseline. They wore accelerometers for seven days to measure MVPA time and steps, then were followed for a median of nine years. Greater levels of MVPA and step counts (top three-quarters versus lowest quarter) were tied to longer survival times, encouraging both time-based and step-based goals for monitoring physical activity levels.

This research, supporting flexible health guidelines, appeared online on May 20, 2024, in JAMA Internal Medicine. Full details can be found at JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Clinical Physician Assistant, Summit Health
Jeff brings to Buoy 20 years of clinical experience as a physician assistant in urgent care and internal medicine. He also has extensive experience in healthcare administration, most recently as developer and director of an urgent care center. While completing his doctorate in Health Sciences at A.T. Still University, Jeff studied population health, healthcare systems, and evidence-based medicine....
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References

Hamaya, R., Shiroma, E. J., Jr., Moore, C. C., Buring, J. E., Evenson, K. R., & Lee, I.-M. (2024). Time- vs Step-Based Physical Activity Metrics for Health. JAMA Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2024.0892