Many people are unaware of the fact but just four simple steps can help them combat diseases. A recently conducted study has revealed that prevention of obesity, smoking, eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity reduces the risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack or diabetes by 80 percent. However the study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, also states that less than 10 percent of 23,000 respondents actually lead their lives that way.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society, Leonard Lichtenfeld says, “The study focuses straightforward on the point that prevention helps contain serious ailments. The most difficult fact is to figure out how to make people engage in healthy behaviors and take notice of the message.”
Researchers at German-based American Center for Prevention and Disease Control studied the habits of 23,000 female and male participants from 1994 to 1998. At the start of the study, scientists measured the weight and height of participants, asking them about their diets, lifestyle habits and diseases. The healthy factors included physical activities such as bicycle riding and sports for 3.5 hours each week, abstinence from smoking, body mass index below 30, a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat.
Nearly 9 percent of participants had practiced all the four healthy lifestyle choices, whereas four percent didn’t practice any. Amongst them, nearly 35 percent of participants carried a combination of two of the healthy factors.
Following nearly eight year average, researchers reviewed medical records of participants for diagnoses of cancers, strokes, heart attacks or diabetes. Compared to those who didn’t practice any of the four lifestyle factors, those who had all four displayed a reduced risk of 81 % for heart attack, 93 % for diabetes, 36 % reduced risk for cancer and a 50 % reduced risk of stroke. The combination of two healthy factors – having a body mass index below 30 and abstinence from smoking, had higher effect on chronic diseases than other two combined.