Tracking disease incidence for almost eight years, the researchers found that when it came to disease prevention and healthy lifestyle, more is more.
Regardless of age, gender, educational achievement or job status, those following all four lifestyle behaviors had a 78 percent lower risk on average for heart disease, cancer and diabetes compared with those who had adopted none of the preferable lifestyle factors.
Taken one by one, diabetes was the most significantly impacted by practicing all four healthy behaviors, with a 93 percent reduced risk compared with those who followed none of the four.
Those who practiced some but not all of the highlighted behaviors did achieve some risk reduction for chronic disease, the researchers noted, although not as much. Having a BMI below 30 appeared to lower disease risk the most, followed by never smoking, routine physical activity and consuming a good diet.
With the findings in, Ford said that the trick now is to motivate the public to practice what researchers are preaching.
"The more you do, the better off you will be," he said. "You can certainly get benefits from practicing one healthy behavior. But at the same time, you will get more benefit the more you do."
"Perhaps studies like this one do help some, by demonstrating how sizeable the impacts truly are," Ford added.
Dr. David L. Katz is director of internal medicine and preventive medicine/public health at the Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine, as well as the author of an accompanying editorial. He called the strength of the connection between healthy behavior and long, healthy life "incredible."
"This study is essentially a reaffirmation that an amazingly short list of behaviors, which we've been hearing about for about 15 years, massively influence our risk for premature death and for developing all of the major ch
All rights reserved