Health workers can get the same amount of work done at home if they’re doing it well, but not everyone does it that well, and some of us may be doing it more harm than good, a new study shows.
The findings, published online on July 6, add to the evidence that a healthy diet and exercise are critical to a productive life and prevent illness and death from illness and injury.
“When it comes to health, you can’t just look at your physical condition,” said lead study author Michael Molloy, PhD, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“You need to be thinking about what the impact is on the person you’re helping, the person your helping, and the society at large.”
In the study, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) analyzed data on health workers, and found that those who were more physically active performed better on several measures of health and productivity.
The researchers also compared workers with and without medical conditions, and compared health workers who were active with those who didn’t.
“Physical activity is a powerful predictor of health, productivity, and overall well-being,” said Mollory, a former deputy commissioner of the CDC.
“We need to continue to do our part to improve our health, and we need to focus our efforts on helping people who have physical limitations.”
The researchers said the data is particularly useful because it includes information about both physical activity and its effects on mental health, such as depression and anxiety.
Molloys study was published in the journal Epidemiology.
He said there are no national statistics on how much people do or don’t get physically active, but he thinks it’s safe to say that more people are getting physically active than are getting well.
The CDC recently released a report that found that the number of people who were overweight or obese in the U.S. was on the rise.
Molls study suggests that it’s time to change the way we think about physical activity, and to do so we need a new focus on mental well-beings.
Mollenoys research also found that physical activity can help people with ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
MLLOY, M.C., M.D., and K.M.M., “A meta-analysis of physical activity among health workers,” Epidemiology, doi:10.1016/j.ejoe.2017.07.004.
Published online July 8, 2017.