Small Lifestyle Changes, Significant Consequences

By Nancy Smith

Today’s medical announcement would be astounding if it wasn’t almost intuitive; the results clearly demonstrate that lifestyle behaviors do contribute to stroke risk independently of the intermediate risk factors.

We are all aware that the following four behaviors are beneficial to one’s health. Physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, and the daily consumption of five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day can only have a positive impact. The strength of that impact was recently bolstered by a defining EPIC (European Prospective Investigation of Cancer) study conducted in England.

20,040 men and women ages 40 to 79 had a physical exam and completed a detailed health and lifestyle questionnaire upon enrolling in the study. This data determined which participants smoked, drank, were physically active, and whether they ate their fruits and vegetables. The risk of stroke for those who did not practice any of the above mentioned behaviors increased twofold compared with individuals who adopted all four.

“These results provide further incentive and support for the notion that small differences in lifestyle can have a substantial potential impact on risk,” the authors concluded.

25. February 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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