Adopting a healthy lifestyle after age 45 may confer cardiovascular and mortality benefits even just 4 years later, according to a study in the July edition of the American Journal of Medicine.
To study the origin and progression of atherosclerosis, researchers prospectively followed roughly 16,000 adults aged 45 to 64 at baseline. After 6 years, about 1000 had newly adopted an overall healthy lifestyle, defined as four behaviors: eating at least five fruits and vegetables daily, exercising at least 2.5 hours weekly, maintaining a BMI between 18.5 and 30, and not smoking. Some 11,000 were following three or fewer of these behaviors.
During the next 4 years, those who had newly adopted all four behaviors had a 40% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 35% reduction in cardiovascular events, compared with those who were following three or fewer healthy behaviors.
The authors conclude that adhering to a healthy lifestyle is "extremely worthwhile, and that middle-age is not too late to act."
American Journal of Medicine article (Free abstract; full text requires subscription)