What would you do if you learned you could cut your risk of premature death by a whopping 50% naturally─without drugs, surgery or other costly services or procedures? Many health-conscious women would rush to sign up. According to Harvard researchers1, this amazing feat of wellness can, in fact, be accomplished by a few simple lifestyle adjustments:
• Avoid tobacco
• Exercise regularly
• Minimize red meat and trans-fats
• Maintain a healthy weight
Dr Rob van Dam and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated data from 77,782 women between the ages of 34 and 59 who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1980 through 2004. The results revealed that out of 8,882 deaths over the 24 year follow-up period, 4,527 were due to cancer and 1,790 from cardiovascular disease.
While a full 28% of these deaths could have been avoided by staying tobacco-free, this figure was raised to a staggering 55% when women also incorporated exercise, consumed a healthy diet and kept off the excess pounds.
When we see such clear, scientifically-validated documentation on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle─not to mention the horribly exorbitant costs associated with degenerative disase─the big question is: why aren’t more of us Americans committing to it?
1BMJ 2008; 337:a1440 doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1440 (Published 16 September 2008)