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News spotlight: Study finds four healthy behaviors dramatically drop disease risk

Nurse Leader Insider, August 17, 2009

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What’s the secret to a long, healthy life? According to a new study, there isn’t just one.

Researchers studied four familiar healthy habits among more than 23,000 people—don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and eat a balanced diet—finding those who adhered to all four had a 78% lower risk of developing a chronic disease than those who didn’t adhere to any.

More specifically, participants who practiced all four healthy behaviors were found to have a 93% lower risk of diabetes, 81% lower risk of a heart attack, and 50% lower risk of stroke in contrast with people who didn’t maintain the habits. Data showed that, on average, following even one of the healthy behaviors reduced participants’ risk for disease by 50%.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the German Institute of Human Nutrition studied the habits of Germans aged 35-65 between 1994 and 1998. They examined correlations between the habits and participants’ likeliness of developing the diseases about eight years later.

Source: Reuters.com



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