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Benefits of healthy lifestyle factors stronger in combination
Date:9/14/2010

It is widely known that a healthy lifestyle that includes not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and maintaining a proper weight reduces disease risk.

In the journal PLoS Medicine, Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center now report results from a large study quantifying the impact of combining healthy lifestyle factors.

They found that a healthy lifestyle pattern being normal weight, having low belly fat, participating in regular physical activity, limiting exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, and consuming higher amounts of fruits and vegetables reduced mortality in Chinese women who do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol regularly.

"The results show that overall lifestyle modification, to include a combination of these health-related lifestyle factors, is important in disease prevention," said Zheng, an Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center.

A number of "unhealthy" lifestyle factors for example, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, diet deficient in fruits and vegetables, high amount of belly fat, and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke have been linked individually to chronic disease and premature death.

But little is known about the cumulative impact of these unhealthy factors or about the combined impact of lifestyle factors beyond that of active smoking and alcohol consumption on mortality.

To address this question, the researchers analyzed data from 71,243 non-smoking, non-drinking Chinese women aged 40 to 70 years who have been participating in the ongoing population-based Shanghai Women's Health Study. Over the 9-year study period, 2,860 deaths were reported, including 1,351 cancer deaths and 775 deaths from cardiovascular disease.

To calculate "healthy lifestyle scores," the investigators selected five well-studied healthy lifestyle factors relevant for this
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Contact: Melissa Marino
melissa.marino@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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