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Studies Affirm Value of Healthy Lifestyle
Date:7/21/2009

Those who ate right, exercised lowered chances of cardiovascular trouble

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- All that heart-healthy advice about eating the right foods, exercising and losing weight pay off in real life for both men and women, two new studies show.

The reports, both originating at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and published in the July 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on different aspects of cardiovascular risk in two large groups: the 83,882 women in the second Nurses' Health Study, and the 20,900 men in the Physicians' Health Study I. Both arrived at the same conclusion: Do the right things, and you get measurable benefits.

Simultaneous appearance of the two reports was more or less a coincidence, said Dr. Luc Djousse, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's at Harvard Medical School, who led the men's study.

The study in men looked at the relationship between the lifetime risk of heart failure and six lifestyle factors: obesity, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, consumption of breakfast cereals, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

"Previous studies have shown benefit from individual lifestyle factors," Djousse said. "We looked at all of these factors together."

That look found a straight-line relationship between adherence to healthy lifestyle factors and the risk of heart failure, the progressive loss of ability to pump blood that is often a prelude to death. The lifetime risk of heart failure in the 22-year study was about one in five in men who ignored the advice about all beneficial lifestyle factors and one in 10 for those who adhered to four or more of the factors.

"The one with a huge difference was adiposity," Djousse said. "The risk of heart failure was 17 percent in men who were overweight or obese, and about 11 percent in those of normal weight."

Exercise was the next most
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