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

population: normal weight (body mass index 18.5-24.99 kg/m2); lower waist-hip ratio (an estimate of abdominal fat); exercise participation; never exposed to spouse's smoking; and higher fruit and vegetable daily intake.

For each of the five factors, study subjects were assigned one point for having the healthy factor (and zero for not having the healthy factor), and the points were then summed to generate a cumulative score for each woman, ranging from 0 points (least healthy) to 5 points (most healthy).

They found that a higher healthy lifestyle score was significantly associated with reduced risk of mortality from all causes, as well as from cardiovascular diseases and cancer, specifically. Women with 4 to 5 healthy lifestyle factors had 43 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to women with a score of zero. The reduction in mortality associated with higher lifestyle scores was strongest for deaths due to cardiovascular disease.

"We already know that smoking and excessive alcohol drinking have significant adverse health effects. But for the many people who do not smoke or drink alcohol regularly, these other lifestyle factors may have major combined impact on mortality," Zheng said.

"The good news is that many of these factors can be improved by an individual's motivation to change unhealthy behaviors. And even the more difficult to change factors, like spousal smoking, could be improved by increased awareness about the detrimental health effects of smoking."


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Contact: Melissa Marino
melissa.marino@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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