Thursday, June 28, 2007

Adopting healthy lifestyle in middle age gives ‘prompt’ CV benefits

Cardiovascular News

Adopting healthy lifestyle in middle age gives ‘prompt’ CV benefits

28 June 2007MedWire


Adopting a healthier lifestyle in middle-age is not too late to gain cardiovascular (CV) benefits, US researchers say.

Their study, published advance online by the American Journal of Medicine, showed that adopting four modest healthy habits in middle-age lowered the risk of CV disease (CVD) and mortality by 35% and 40%, respectively, after just 4 years.

Dana King (Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston) and colleagues studied 15,708 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, aged 45-64 years.

The researchers evaluated each individual’s participation in an overall healthy lifestyle, characterized by having all four of the lifestyle habits: eating at least five fruits and vegetables daily; exercising (at least walking) a minimum of 2.5 hours per week; maintaining a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 30 kg/m2; and not smoking.

At the start of the study, 1344 (8.5%) participants engaged in all four healthy lifestyle factors. Three-yearly follow-up visits revealed that 970 (8.4%) of the remainder had newly adopted a healthy lifestyle 6 years on.

Over the next 4 years, these individuals who had switched to the healthy lifestyle were less likely to have experienced a subsequent CVD event (11.7% vs 16.5%, p<0.001) p="0.009)">

After adjusting for demographics, socioeconomic status, and disease history, people who adopted a healthy lifestyle had an odds ratio (OR) of 0.60 for all-cause mortality and an OR of 0.65 for CVD events over the next 4 years, relative to those who did not.

People with fewer than two healthy habits at the beginning of the study who then adopted one more healthy habit had a reduction in mortality (OR=0.75) but not CVD (OR=0.88).

Men, African Americans, people with lower socioeconomic status, and those with a history of hypertension or diabetes were less likely to change to a healthy lifestyle.

“The potential public health benefit from adopting a healthier lifestyle in middle-age is substantial,” the authors write.

“The findings emphasize that making the necessary changes to adhere to a healthy lifestyle is extremely worthwhile, and that middle-age is not too late to act.”

LINK: Am J Med 2007; Advance online publication

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