Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older Women Find Health Benefits Through Volunteering

Date:
February 26, 2009
Source:
The Gerontological Society of America
Summary:
A new article reveals that African American women aged 60 and older who volunteer in elementary schools are not only more physically active than their non-volunteering counterparts, but seem to sustain this physical activity over time. Specifically, those who volunteered burned twice as many calories as those who did not.

A new article in The Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences reveals that African American women aged 60 and older who volunteer in elementary schools are not only more physically active than their non-volunteering counterparts, but seem to sustain this physical activity over time. Specifically, those who volunteered burned twice as many calories as those who did not.

This study, led by Erwin Tan, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins University, suggests that the country’s investment in national and community service programs can simultaneously be an investment in public health.

“For our volunteers,” Tan said, “volunteering with children may be as good for their health as a gym membership. For our children, the wisdom that our older adults have is priceless.” He added that, due to their enjoyment of working with children, the volunteers may be more willing to keep up with this approach in the long term, compared with traditional exercise programs.

Tan also explained that the focus on African American women was due to their prevalence in the two community groups from which the study participants were recruited, but he said the results are likely the same for all older people.

The data was gathered from participants in the Experience Corps (EC) program, a community-based initiative that places older adults as volunteers in public elementary schools. This information was then compared to surveys of non-volunteers enrolled in the Baltimore Women’s Health and Aging Studies.

Tan’s research builds on the results of a 2006 study of the EC program, which showed that 15 hours of volunteer work per week at an elementary school nearly doubled a sedentary older adult’s activity level. The new study demonstrates that the increased activity can remain high for at least three years.

Another Johns Hopkins-based investigation of the EC program was published in the December 2008 issue of The Gerontologist. A research team led by Michelle Carlson, PhD, reported similar findings about EC’s potential cognitive benefits for participants.

She and her colleagues found that EC volunteers showed greater improvements in memory and executive function than those who did not participate in the program. In fact, the older adults with the lowest baseline performance in these areas — those most at risk for health disparities — demonstrated the most significant gains.

Both studies highlighted above show that everyday activity interventions (e.g., EC) can appeal to older adults’ desires to remain socially engaged and productive in their post-retirement years. Simultaneously, these activities provide measurable physical and cognitive health benefits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Gerontological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Gerontological Society of America. "Older Women Find Health Benefits Through Volunteering." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226134809.htm>.
The Gerontological Society of America. (2009, February 26). Older Women Find Health Benefits Through Volunteering. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226134809.htm
The Gerontological Society of America. "Older Women Find Health Benefits Through Volunteering." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226134809.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins