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More Evidence Healthy Living Brings Long Life
Date:8/10/2009

Good diet, no smoking, regular exercise lower chronic disease risk by 80%, CDC study finds

MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- People who adopt four healthy behaviors -- never smoking, regular exercise, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight -- can dramatically reduce their likelihood for chronic disease and an early death, a new study confirms.

On average, healthy living may cut your odds for heart disease, cancer and diabetes by about 80 percent, the researchers said.

"We're talking about relatively straightforward behaviors that pretty much everyone knows about already," said study author Dr. Earl S. Ford, a medical officer with the U.S. Public Health Service and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "But there's unfortunately a gap between people realizing what's good for them and doing what they might want to do."

"We're showing that for a very wide range of diseases -- not just one chronic disease, but many -- these few behaviors really do have a major impact on prevention," Ford said.

He and his colleagues reported the findings in the Aug. 10/24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The authors drew on data from a German study conducted between 1994 and 1998. That research probed the lifestyle characteristics, food habits and disease history of about 23,000 German adults between the ages of 35 and 65.

Adherence to four key lifestyle indicators were tracked: never having smoked; having a body-mass index below 30 (the threshold for obesity); exercising for a minimum of 3.5 hours per week; and eating healthfully, as evidenced by a diet high in fruit and vegetable intake but low in meat.

Ford and his team found that rather than scoring an A+ or an F in lifestyle, most study participants engaged in some (one to three), but not all of the ideal behaviors.

Less than 4 percent met none of the criteria for a healthy lifestyle, while
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