New Studies: Walking, Good Diet May Prevent Dementia

By Sarah Pollak CBN News Reporter September 22, 2004 - (CBN News) - New studies show it is never too late to be healthy. Moderate exercise and a good diet can ward off a slew of age-related problems.

One of the best ways to ward off Alzheimer's Disease may be walking regularly.

Dr. Jennifer Weuve, from the Harvard School of Public Health, said, "Better memory, learning and attention may be achieved by walking as little as two to three hours per week."

New studies show that does not necessarily mean you have to power walk to feel the benefits. But taking a stroll at age 70 and beyond can help keep the mind sharp.

Another new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that walking can even help stave off dementia, especially for older women.

Dr. Weuve said, "This is good news, because walking is a relatively easy way for people to preserve their learning, memory and attention."

Another study says the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, extend well into old age, increasing longevity even in men and women in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

The Dutch study found that people in that age range who combined a Mediterranean diet with exercise, no smoking and only moderate alcohol use were 65 percent less likely to die over a 10-year period.





ANDREW DENTON: This is a fantastic country to live in. We are very fortunate. Yet we have such a high, and rising, rate of youth suicide. What...why would that be in this country?


JEFF KENNETT: We are seeing enormous social changes in Australia, which we haven't even started to address. No-one's thinking any longer. And that's why I say, you've got to make sure that you get your Yins and your Yangs in balance. There is no value in working so hard that you can't garden or play golf. I often say, with depression...that one of the best ways of avoiding depression is to be physically fit - to walk every day, to do some exercise. The best example of that in this country, who do you think is at the moment?




JEFF KENNETT: John Howard. Again, mid-60s, he walks every day...and yet, the Government or the community doesn't use that - not for political reasons. If ever there was an important message being sent out by our most senior leader, it is John Howard walking every morning. If I want to help a lot of our aged from becoming depressed as they become aged - and more and more are, particularly as they're taken out of their own environment - I would say that they should follow John Howard's lead. And I don't understand why we spend so much money on health...and yet we spend so little on prevention of health illnesses.'s not difficult to do. Yet we wait until people need acute care before the system responds. Better people don't get ill. Better people don't get oppressed. And certainly, better people don't take their own lives.







Andrew Denton: Yeah, but there you were at the height of your breakdown and you actually did consider suicide didn't you? How seriously did you consider that?   .  There you were, how, how do you turn that around? .


Garry McDonald: Yeah, well, I went to different people, I had one psychologist I went to first up and the best bit of advice he gave me was to walk every morning for 20 minutes and I said I haven't got time, I haven't got time to do that. He said, you've got time to sit around all day worrying, of course you've got time to walk.


Walk for half an hour, brisk walk for half and hour. And that's fantastic advice for anyone with depression. Force yourself to do that every morning, every morning, as soon as you get up, put on the walkers and go out for a brisk walk, and about 20 minutes and you'll notice a change, it's very, very good.