New Study Confirms Benefits of Healthy Lifestyle
I’ve been saying it for years: You needn’t be a victim. Heart disease may be the number one killer in America, but that doesn’t mean it has to kill you. You can take responsibility for your health by eating right, exercising regularly and avoiding dangerous behaviors.
Now a major new study confirms what I’ve been saying all along. You have the power to take control of your health by avoiding “unhealthy lifestyle habits”. Unfortunately, too few Americans seem to have embraced this fundamental truth. We wouldn’t be facing an obesity epidemic if every man, woman and child in this country fully accepted responsibility for his or her health.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits include poor diet (too much fat, too many simple carbs, too much processed meat, too few plant foods), too much time spent on the couch (and too little time spent just moving), smoking, and failing to maintain a healthy body weight.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have published the results of a large, multi-center, long-term study of lifestyle factors and risk of heart disease and death. The health and lifestyles of more than 6,000 men and women from a broad range of ethnicities were followed for about 7.6 years. Perhaps not surprisingly, smoking avoidance was the most dramatic contributor to longer life and better health. Other behaviors—such as eating a Mediterranean diet (think plenty of plant foods, nuts, olive oil, some fish and little meat) and exercising regularly—all contributed to a significantly reduced risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease, not to mention death.
“...These lifestyle measures are things that people can change and consequently make a big difference in their health. That's why we think this is so important,” said lead study author, Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H.
Ahmed HM, Blaha MJ, Nasir K, Jones SR, Rivera JJ, Agatston A, et al. Low-Risk Lifestyle, Coronary Calcium, Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality: Results From MESA. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]