Personal Health and Well-being

Candy Sagon writes about health topics for AARP. She previously was a reporter with the Washington Post and has written numerous articles on food, health and nutrition for national magazines.

We’re So Lazy. And It’s Getting Worse

How bad are Americans about not getting any physical activity whatsoever? Really bad. Like record-setting bad. The proof: A new survey by the Physical Activity Council (PAC) finds that the number of “totally sedentary” Americans is the highest it’s been since 2007. Roughly 83 million Americans ages 6 and up — about a third of the population — were physically inactive in 2014, nearly 3 million more than in 2013. That means they didn’t participate in any one of 104 …

A Mammogram at Age 50 or 40? The Debate Continues

Six years ago a federal panel of medical experts said women didn’t need to start getting routine mammograms until they were 50 — not 40, as other medical groups had long advised — and then only every two years. The announcement set off a heated debate, and most older women ended up ignoring the advice. This week, the panel released a proposed updated version of those 2009 recommendations, and not much has changed. Including the debate. The panel, the U.S. …

Medicare Celebrates a Half Century

Give Medicare and Medicaid an AARP card — they’re turning 50 this year. At a special program on Wednesday commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary, experts spoke about how the two federal programs have transformed both the country’s health care system and the health of its older citizens. “Medicare has been a health care lifeline for millions of older Americans and must be strengthened for the future,” AARP President Jeannine English said at the conference, sponsored by the LBJ Presidential Library, …

Short Men at Greater Risk for Heart Disease

Here’s one more thing to add to the list of ways to reduce your heart attack risk: Don’t be short. Yeah, we know. As if you could control your height. Still, a new study finds a surprising link between some of the genes responsible for height and the risk of heart disease. And the evidence appears much stronger for men than for women. Scientists have known for more than 60 years that there was a relationship between height and heart …

Night Owls at Higher Risk for Diabetes, Health Problems

If you’re middle-aged and a night owl, you’re at a much higher risk for diabetes and other health problems than your early-riser friends — even if you’re getting the same amount of sleep as they are. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism examined the health difference between what researchers call “evening and morning chronotypes” — people whose natural sleep-wake cycles make them either night owls or morning people. The aim was to see whether …

Restaurateur B. Smith Urges More Funding for Alzheimer’s Research

Former model and restaurateur B. Smith, who revealed last June that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, urged senators on Wednesday to “make a difference” for the millions like her and approve more funding for research into the debilitating brain condition. Smith, 65, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, along with medical and research experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Mayo Clinic and other centers. Fighting back tears, Smith told the committee …