Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity is the Most Efficient at Improving Fitness

In the largest study performed to date to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness, BUSM researchers have found that higher amount of time spent performing exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and low-moderate level activity (steps) and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures, we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course,” explained corresponding author Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine.

He and his team studied approximately 2,000 participants from the community-based Framingham Heart Study who underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) for the “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness. Physical fitness measurements were associated with physical activity data obtained through accelerometers (device that measures frequency and intensity of human movement) that were worn for one week around the time of CPET and approximately eight years earlier.

They found dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

According to the researchers, while the study was focused on the relationship of physical activity and fitness specifically (rather than any health-related outcomes), fitness has a powerful influence on health and is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. “Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,” said Nayor, a cardiologist at Boston Medical Center.

These findings appear online in the European Heart Journal.

Source: Boston University School of Medicine

Chocolate Maritozzo of Gourmet Boutique Melissa in Osaka, Japan

The filling incorporates Lecla chocolate from France. The chocolate and hazelnut cream is sandwiched between brioche bun.

A limited quantity will be sold for a price of 594 yen (tax included) per piece.

Study: Greener Neighborhoods Bring Healthier Hearts

The greener your neighborhood, the lower your risk of heart disease.

That’s the takeaway from a new study, which reported that adding to a neighborhood’s green space can have a big payoff for public health.

“For the cost of one emergency room visit for a heart attack, trees could be planted in a neighborhood with 100 residents and potentially prevent ten heart diseases,” said study leader Dr. William Aitken, a cardiology fellow at the University of Miami.

His team analyzed data from more than 243,000 Medicare recipients who lived in the same area of Miami between 2011 and 2016.

During that time, folks in neighborhoods with high greenness were 16% less likely to develop new heart conditions than those in areas with low greenness, the study found.

Among seniors diagnosed with a new heart condition, the rate was 4% lower among those in high green neighborhoods.

Making neighborhoods more green paid off, too, the study found.

Folks whose neighborhoods where greenness increased from low to high had a 15% lower risk of new heart disease than those in neighborhoods with low greenness throughout the study.

Among participants diagnosed with a new heart condition, the rate was 9% lower for those in neighborhoods that got greener.

“Higher levels of greenness were associated with lower rates of heart conditions and stroke over time, both when an area maintained high greenness and when greenness increased,” Aitken said. “It was remarkable that these relationships appeared in just five years, a relatively short amount of time for a positive environmental impact.”

Researchers suspect several factors undergird the health benefits.

“People living in greener areas may do more outdoor exercise and might feel less stressed due to being surrounded by nature,” Aitken said. “In addition, vegetation could provide some protection from air and/or noise pollution. This is an area for further exploration.”

The findings were presented Friday at an online meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay

Graham Cracker Pound Cake


1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs, from half a sleeve
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray an 8-by-4-inch glass loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole milk, cream, eggs and vanilla. Beating at medium speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 alternating batches.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  6. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the pound cake out onto a rack to cool completely.
  7. The cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for 2 weeks.

Makes one 8- by 4-inch loaf.

Source: Chef Megan Garrelts

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