Lifestyle Study Finds Significant Heart Benefit
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 04:54 PM

Adhering to a healthy diet and lifestyle could prevent as many as four out of five heart attacks in men, according to a population-based, prospective cohort study of Swedish men.

Practicing just two of five low-risk behaviors -- a healthy diet and moderate alcohol consumption -- was associated with a relative risk of 0.65 for myocardial infarction (MI) compared with men who practiced none of the low-risk behaviors.  Following all five low-risk factors -- refraining from smoking, being physically active and having no abdominal adiposity, in addition to the other two -- was associated with a relative risk of 0.14.  "This combination of healthy behaviors, present in 1% of the men, could prevent 79% of the MI events on the basis of the study population," researchers said.  Programs that target men and encourage them to adhere to these behaviors -- even just two of them -- could have a large impact on the burden of disease.

Medical educators, clinicians, health administrators and insurance providers should design a way to incorporate ways to target and measure dietary quality, physical activity, smoking and waist circumference into "every aspect of the health system."  "Patients should enter their doctor's office and not simply ask 'How are my blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels?' but also ask 'How are my dietary habits, physical activity level, smoking, and waist measurement?'"