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First sister study results reinforce the importance of healthy living
Date:3/16/2009

environmental and genetic factors that might lead to breast cancer, we also want to learn more about how factors such as stress, diet and exercise might impact cancer and other disease risks."

One of the studies published this week found that women who were obese for a long time had reduced telomere length. The researchers looked at the relationship between various measures of current and past body size and telomere length in 647 women enrolled in the Sister Study. They found that women who had an overweight or obese body mass index (BMI) before or during their 30s, and maintained that status since those years, had shorter telomeres than those who became overweight or obese after their 30s. "This suggests that duration of obesity may be more important than weight change per se, although other measures of overweight and obesity were also important," said Sangmi Kim, Ph.D., epidemiologist and lead author on the paper. "Our results support the hypothesis that obesity accelerates the aging process," said Kim.

The other paper published in February looked at the association between telomere length and the perceived stress levels of 647 women enrolled in the Sister Study, and found that similar to the obesity finding, stress can also impact telomere length. The researchers extracted DNA from blood drawn during initial enrollment to estimate telomere length, and measured levels of stress hormones in urine samples the women provided. Additionally, the researchers used a standardized scale to characterize levels of perceived stress based on answers to questions about how stressful participants perceived their life situations. In general, the researchers report that women in the Sister Study typically reported low levels of perceived stress.

"Even so, women who reported above-average stress had somewhat shorter telomeres, but the difference in telomere length was most striking when we looked at the relationship between perceived stress and telo
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Contact: Robin Mackar
rmackar@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-0073
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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