ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Add your Article

For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little

(HealthDay News) -- The secret to a healthier retirement may be surprising: work.

Retirees who continue to work in some capacity, even part-time, are less likely to experience physical decline and disease, new U.S. research suggests.

Using data from the national Health and Retirement Study, researchers analyzed six years of information on the health, finances and employment status of over 12,000 men and women between the ages of 51 and 61 in 1992.

Compared to those who quit working altogether, those who described themselves as officially retired but who continued to work part-time or in temp jobs were less likely to be diagnosed with eight diseases: high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, psychiatric problems and arthritis.

Those who worked at least part-time also were less likely to show signs of functional decline, or inability to perform the activities of daily living, including walking across a room, getting in and out of bed, dressing, eating and bathing.

The findings held true even after controlling for age, sex, financial status, education level and physical and mental health before retirement, according to the study in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

"There are tons of reasons why working is good for you," said study co-author Mo Wang, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Maryland. "When you work, you have a daily structure. You may do more physical activity. Working provides financial resources, social context, opportunities to interact and to learn new skills. Working can also be good for self-esteem and nurturing a sense of identity."

But having to learn too much too quickly might not be so good for your mental state. Older workers whose "bridge employment" was in their chosen field had better mental health status than those whose post-retirement work was outside their prior field.

The study found that retirees who were struggling financially were more likely to work in a different field after retirement.

"When you're working in a similar field, you don't need to adjust to it. You're familiar with the rules and the social network," Wang said. "When you're working in a field you have not worked in before, you have to adjust to a new identify, a new social environment and a new work context. You may face challenges you never faced before."

All signs point to the trend of older workers staying on the job continuing. According to a 2008 survey from the AARP, 70 percent of 1,500 workers ages 45 to 74 said they planned to continue working into what they considered their retirement years.

Finances are a primary motivator, said Colin Milner, chief executive officer of the International Council on Active Aging in Vancouver, British Columbia. Baby Boomers -- the generation born in the post-World War II years -- have taken some financial hits recently, from the rising cost of health care to the housing bust to job losses.

But many also stay on the job because they want to, Milner added. Working provides a sense of purpose, which research has shown is key to maintaining mental and physical health in older age.

The study isn't the first to show that structured activity improves the lives of retired people. In May, research presented at a meeting of the American Geriatrics Society found that retirees over 65 who worked as volunteers had half the death risk of those who did not.

"What the [new] study does is reinforce a few things we already know," Milner said. "If you are involved in society and have purpose in life, whether that's through a job or as a volunteer, your health and your mental outlook is much better than if you're not."

SOURCES: Mo Wang, Ph.D., associate professor, applied psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging, Vancouver, British Columbia; Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, October 2009