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(January 30, 2009)

Caregivers’ activities

Senior woman on treadmill
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Being an active caregiver for someone can wear a person down physically. But a study indicates that being a physically active caregiver – taking time for exercise, for instance – can offset some of the toll.

Lisa Fredman of Boston University found that in eight years of data on more than 3,000 people in their 70s. She says people who spent the most time doing caregiving had the highest risk of death, but the effect was offset by physical activity.

[Lisa Fredman speaks] ``Our study does suggest that the adverse health effects of caregiving are probably attenuated by caregivers being more physically active than the noncaregivers.’’

Fredman says being physically active could help caregivers care for their own health – and contribute more to the care of others.

The study in Archives of Internal Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February, 02 2009