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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported March 19, 2013

A Health-Heart Lifestyle Can Reduce the Risk of Cancer


(Ivanhoe Newswire) --The American Heart Association launched has a My Life Check campaign.  Part of that campaign advises American’s to adhere to seven factors for a healthy heart, called Life’s Simple 7.  It helps reduce the risk for heart disease, but now research suggests it can also prevent cancer!
Adhering to six out of the seven goals reduced the risk of cancer by 51 percent, compared with participants who did not meet any of the factors.  Four factors led to a 33 percent risk reduction and one or two lead to 21 percent.  
"We were gratified to know adherence to the Life's Simple 7 goals was also associated with reduced incidence of cancer.   This can help health professionals provide a clear, consistent message about the most important things people can do to protect their health and lower their overall risk for chronic diseases." Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and lead study author, was quoted as saying. 
Life’s Simple 7 factors include:  being physically active, eating a healthy diet, keeping a healthy weight, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, not smoking, regulating blood sugar levels, and keeping blood pressure down.
When smoking was not considered, participants who met five or six of the remaining factors, they had a 25 percent lower risk of cancer than those who did not meet any.
"We're trying to help promote a comprehensive health message.  Quitting smoking is very important, but there are other factors you need to be aware of if you want to live a healthy life,” Rasmussen-Torvik said.
The study evaluated 13,523 men and women in the ongoing Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which was launched in 1987 in four U.S. communities.  Researchers interviewed participants and recorded which health factors they met or followed.
Twenty years later, they reviewed cancer registries and hospital record to determine that 2,880 of the participants ended up developing cancer, primarily in the lungs, colon, prostate, and breasts.   Non-melanoma skin cancers were not considered.
"This adds to the strong body of literature suggesting that it's never too late to change, and that if you make changes like quitting smoking and improving your diet, you can reduce your risk for both cardiovascular disease and cancer," Rasmussen-Torvik concluded.
SOURCE:  American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal, March 2013


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