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Following Heart-Healthy Behaviors May Lengthen Your Life
Date:3/19/2012

SATURDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- People who follow seven recommended cardiovascular health behaviors are much less likely to die than those who follow few or none of the behaviors, according to a study that included nearly 45,000 U.S. adults.

However, the researchers also found that few adults follow every cardiovascular health behavior recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), which include: not smoking; eating a healthy diet; having normal cholesterol, blood glucose and total cholesterol levels; being physically active and having normal blood pressure.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more than 800,000 people a year and accounts for about one in three deaths, with estimated annual direct and overall costs of $273 billion and $444 billion, respectively, according to the researchers.

They looked at 44,959 adults, aged 20 and older, using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-94, 1999-2004 and 2005-10) and a linked database of deaths.

Only a few adults followed all seven recommended health behaviors -- 2 percent in 1988-94 and 1.2 percent in 2005-10. Those most likely to adhere to a greater number of recommended health behaviors included younger people, women, whites and those with higher education levels.

After 14.5 years of follow-up, those who followed six or more of the health behaviors had a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause death, a 76 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 70 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, compared to those who followed one or fewer of the health behaviors.

In addition, people who followed a greater number of the health behaviors had a lower risk of death from cancer, according to lead researcher Quanhe Yang, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues.

They also found evidence suggesting that f
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