Even the elderly can have good health!

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Washington, Dec 17 (UNI) Better late than never -- It's not too late to improve your health through diet and exercise, even if you've had an unhealthy lifestyle in the past.

A new American study has come up with some hope for the elderly , suggesting that they can have significant health improvements with simple and realistic lifestyle changes, the Science Daily reported.

It found that risk can be reduced for many diseases, including obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

''I think this is an extremely important and positive message, '' said the paper's lead symposium editor, Dr Richard S Rivlin.

''Many elderly people feel that it is too late for them to improve their health, but that is simply not true,'' he added.

Dr Rivlin analysed how the elderly can ward off risks to their health late in life by improving body composition-lowering fat and boosting muscle mass.

Adhering to a low-calorie and low-fat diet-high in vegetables and fruits-with a regular exercise plan, can help the elderly stave off the diseases of aging.

''When measures to combat chronic disease are started in one's 60s and 70s, there are still definite benefits,'' said Dr Rivlin.

''But older adults must realise that there is no quick fix.

They must change their lifestyles.'' The study found that lowering high blood pressure - a major risk for cardiovascular disease- through improved diet and exercise had more dramatic health benefits for the elderly than for any other age group.

It also showed control of hypertension could potentially prevent one-fifth of coronary heart disease cases in men, and 30 per cent in women.

Older adults who adhered to a low-calorie diet with regular exercise had lower rates of cancer.

In one study, risk was reduced by nearly 50 per cent.

UNI

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