A new study involving 235,000 participants suggests that ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays, in sunlight may reduce the risks of rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Elizabeth Arkema, who studies epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues said, “our study adds to the growing evidence that exposure to UV-B light is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis,” The study was divided into two terms lasting over 33 years. Results show that women who had more exposure to high levels of UV-B light were 21% less likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. More here
A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that 75 percent of Americans described their retirement preparations as being based on some sort of a guess compared to 22 percent who said their plan was based on calculations. The numbers offer further evidence that Americans are in need of better education and financial preparation leading up to their retirement. For example, participants estimated their out-of-pocket healthcare costs in retirement would total $47,000, far below the $260,000 calculated by the Center for Retirement Research. Also, the number of respondents who said they aren’t confident they will have saved enough to live comfortably in retirement rose from 42 percent in 2011 to 53 percent this year. The poll was conducted via telephone and interviewed 1,000 middle-class Americans between the ages of 25 and 75. More here.
A study published on the British Medical Journal’s website found that eating at least two portions of fish a week led to a significant reduction in risk of stroke or mini-stroke. According to the research, oily fish like mackerel and sardines led to the most benefit, though any fish was better than none at all. In fact, two servings of any fish per week led to a 4.0 percent reduced risk of stroke, while two to four servings was associated with a 6.0 percent reduction and participants who ate five or more servings saw their risk lowered by 12 percent. The authors of the study said there are a number of reasons eating fish could be beneficial to vascular health, including interaction of nutrients, reduced intake of red meat, and a generally healthier diet. More here.
Women, more than men, say they expect to live past the age of 90. In fact, nearly twice the number of women said they expected to live a long life compared to men in a recent retirement survey. But despite having expectations of living longer, many women haven’t planned adequately for the financial requirements associated with increased longevity. For example, more than half of surveyed women said they respond to financial emergencies by dealing with them when they occur rather than planning for possible scenarios. But though women participants said they didn’t plan in advance, more than 70 percent admitted to being very or somewhat concerned about providing for their long-term care needs. The study highlights the need for women to be properly prepared for their financial needs in retirement. More here.
A new survey from the National Council on Aging and USA Today finds American seniors optimistic about their health and future. The first ever United States of Aging Survey polled 2,250 adults over the age of 60 to measure their attitudes and perceptions on aging. And though there were a significant number of respondents facing financial hardship, the majority of surveyed seniors expressed optimism that their quality of life would remain the same or get better over the next five to ten years. Among participants, 70 percent said the past year had been normal or better than normal and 75 percent of respondents between the ages of 60 and 69 said they expect their life to get better. Also, a majority of seniors said they expect their health to improve or stay the same over the next five to ten years and 25 percent said their health is better than normal. But while 84 percent of seniors said they expected to be able to do what is needed to maintain their health, only 52 percent said they exercise or are active at least four days a week. More here.
According to a study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, eating vegetables may help protect the pancreas and prevent acute pancreatitis. The research followed 80,000 adults for 11 years in order to examine the link between antioxidant levels and acute pancreatitis. Participants ate, on average, 2.5 servings of vegetables a day, but those who ate more than four servings were 44 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who ate less than one serving each day. Researchers found no link between eating fruit and a lowered risk of acute pancreatitis. The study’s authors theorized that the antioxidants gained through eating vegetables helped prevent the disease, whereas the natural sugars contained in fruit weakened the protective effect. More here.
A recent survey, conducted on behalf of Pfizer, asked more than 1,000 participants over the age of 18 for their perspective on aging. The results show how perceptions and priorities change as we age. For example, participants between the ages of 50 and 64 were the most optimistic about getting old and the most likely to say they feel like they look five or more years younger than they actually are. Older respondents were also the most likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and to say they are more active than their parents were at the same age. Younger respondents ranked money higher on a list of aspirations and said people should start watching what they eat at 20 and start having yearly physicals at 21. Health was the number one reason people said that aging was better than they expected. More here.
Despite recent economic volatility, Americans still feel passing on good values is better than leaving behind an inheritance. A survey of baby boomers and adults over the age of 72 found that Americans’ feelings about leaving a legacy have not changed much since 2005, when the original survey was conducted. Among the results, 86 percent of boomers said that family stories were important to pass on and 75 percent said it was extremely important that future generations remembered their parents. The survey also found that baby boomers aren’t expecting much of an inheritance, though previous research estimates that two of three boomers will inherit something. Among participants over the age of 72, the vast majority said it was important to their children that they had a living will in case they become terminally ill and 78 percent said it was their responsibility to begin a conversation with their children about their legacy. More here.
Despite conventional wisdom on the topic, a new survey finds that baby boomers are retiring in large numbers. The study found that 59 percent of boomers who have turned 65 are already, at least, partially retired. Among respondents, 45 percent are completely retired and 14 percent are working part-time. Half of the participants said they retired earlier than they had expected to and 43 percent said they are optimistic for the future. The study’s findings are contrary to many reports claiming the recent recession had baby boomers unprepared for retirement and expecting to work well beyond age 65. According to this study, the average age of retirement for boomers born in 1946 is 59.7 for men and 57.2 for women. More here.
People who scored poorly on a test of their health literacy were twice as likely to die within five years as those with higher scores. The study, which tested nearly 8,000 adults over the age of 52, rated their ability to read and understand health-related information and then followed the participants over a five year period. During those years, just 6.0 percent of the group with the highest health-literacy ratings died compared to 16 percent of the group with the lowest scores and 9.0 percent of the group in the middle. Specifically, the test assessed participants ability to read and understand instructions for taking aspirin. Nearly one third of the individuals in the study could not completely comprehend the instructions. More here.