As the sun rises on World Health Day, a new University of Southern Queensland study has uncovered another reason to get on your feet and stay active.
Health economics PhD candidate Syed Afroz Keramat has found that exercising three or more times a week helped to decrease the likelihood of self-reported disability in later life.
According to Mr Keramat’s research, 28 per cent of Australian adults have a self-reported disability, with the number rising to above 50 per cent in people aged 64 years or over.
“Quality of life is impacted in adults with a disability as they are more prone to chronic diseases,” Mr Keramat said.
“To combat this, it’s important to identify the risk and protective factors which will allow us to build a healthier community.”
For his project, Mr Keramat analysed data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey, with his final study sample consisting of 26,208 participants.
“We found the probability of acquiring a disability was 1.33 times higher in people with obesity than those in a healthy weight range,” Mr Keramat said.
“People who did at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week or more decreased their chance of acquiring a disability by 17 per cent.
“As disability is a crucial indicator of population health, it is important people keep active to improve their future outcomes.”
Economics Professor Khorshed Alam is the leading supervisor on the project.
“Older people prefer to engage in typical sedentary activities such as watching TV or reading – conventional physical fitness places are not attractive to them,” Professor Alam said.
“This study proves the importance of easy and affordable access to community-based physical activity programs, which will give everyone the opportunity to achieve better health.”
With his study recently published in the SSM Population Health journal, Mr Keramat said he would be turning his focus to the link between acquired disability and productivity loss in Australia.
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Economics Professor Khorshed Alam (left) and PhD candidate Syed Afroz Keramat are studying the link between self-reported disability and exercise.