Tag Archives: AARP

Eating more dietary fiber could lead to longer life

We all know we should eat more fiber. Here’s some incentive: Eating more of it could help you live longer, but the kind of fiber you eat may be key, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.

The findings came from a study released online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers used data from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health study that asked people age 50 to 71 what they ate for the last year and how often they ate it. Researchers followed the participants for an average nine years, in which time 20,126 men died and 11,330 women died.

Those who consumed diets higher in fiber had a lower risk of death. The 20 percent of men and women who ate the most fiber (29.4 grams per day for men and 25.8 grams for women) had a 22 percent lower risk of dying compared with those who ate the least amount (12.6 grams per day for men and 10.8 for women).

Diets high in fiber were linked with a lower risk of death from all causes, as well as death from cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and respiratory diseases in men and women. Eating fiber was associated with a lower death risk from cancer for men, but the same was not seen in women.
 
When researchers looked at the effects of the various types of fiber they were eating, they found that consuming grains was most associated with lower risk of all types of death, plus death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and respiratory disease for men and women.

One theory for the link may be that dietary fiber may have anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is often associated with infectious and respiratory diseases.

“A diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits,” the authors wrote.

Older workers working longer

In sifting through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, AARP analysts found that the number of workers ages 75 and older (meaning they’re employed or seeking employment) has grown to about 1.3 million in 2009, from just under half a million in 1989.

That’s still a small sliver of the population over age 75, just 7.3 percent, but a big jump from the 1989 labor force participation rate of 4.3 percent.

A growing proportion of that work force, almost 44 percent, are women.

And a just-released Census Bureau report adds this surprising fact — of workers ages 75 to 84, more than 42 percent hold full-time jobs.

All of which points to more people working more years.