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UF to get $64 million over 6 years to study disability prevention in older Americans
Date:10/2/2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. The University of Florida will receive $29.5 million in federal stimulus funds over the next two years from the National Institute on Aging to begin a six-year study on whether a program of structured physical activity can prevent or delay major movement disability in older adults.

When completed, funding for the project is expected to total more than $60 million from the NIA, including the $29.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The total will amount to the largest federal award to UF, as well as fund the largest study to prevent mobility disability in seniors.

Many studies have shown that regular exercise improves physical performance. And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities.

Still, little is known about whether exercise can actually help prevent major mobility disability, defined as the inability to walk a quarter of a mile, or four blocks.

For older adults, staving off disability could help them maintain their physical independence and enhance the quality of their later years.

"We all know that physical activity is good for our health, but the definitive evidence whether it can prevent disability in older people whether you can prevent them from being unable to walk is lacking," said principal investigator Marco Pahor, M.D., director of the UF Institute on Aging.

The new study, called the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders, or LIFE study, seeks to fill that gap in scientific knowledge. This phase 3 randomized controlled trial of 1,600 sedentary adults ages 70 to 89 who are at risk of mobility disability will be conducted at eight institutions around the country.

It expands on the results of a pilot study that found the rate of onset
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Contact: Czerne M. Reid
czerne@ufl.edu
352-273-5814
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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