Well-Being, Cardiorespiratory Fitness Key to Survival

People with low negative emotion, high fitness are more likely to survive in long term
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Low levels of negative emotion and high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) are independent predictors of long-term survival, and individuals who have both are at much lower risk of premature death, according to research published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Francisco B. Ortega, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Huddinge, Sweden, and colleagues examined 4,888 subjects followed over a median of about 15 years to assess the independent influence of psychological well-being and CRF on survival.

The researchers found that subjects with lower levels of negative emotion had a lower risk of death than those with higher levels of negative emotion, an association that held true after adjustment for CRF and positive emotion (the latter of which was not, itself, associated with survival). Higher CRF, too, was independently associated with higher survival compared with lower CRF. The risk of mortality in subjects who had a high level of CRF as well as a low level of negative emotion was 0.37.

"Findings from this study suggest that it may be beneficial for health professionals to assess their patient's psychological health levels (i.e., emotion) in addition to performing a physical examination. In addition to encouraging increased levels of physical activity for patients with low CRF, health professionals may also be able to intervene so that improvements in negative emotion (i.e., decreased levels of low negative emotion) can be realized," the authors write.

The research was supported in part by an unrestricted research grant from Coca-Cola.

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