September 01, 2009
1 min read

EPIC-Potsdam study: Healthy lifestyle greatly predicted prevention of chronic disease

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The risk for developing MI, stroke, diabetes or cancer was lower in participants of the EPIC-Potsdam study who adhered to four healthy lifestyle factors: never smoking, having a BMI <30, performing ≥3.5 hours a week of physical activity and following healthy dietary principles.

The conclusion was drawn from data about 23,153 German participants of the study analyzed to determine the effects of adhering to four healthy lifestyle factors on reducing the four leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Mean age of participants was 49.3.

At baseline, approximately 4% of participants had zero healthy factors; most had between one and three, and about 9% had all four.

After adjustment for variables including age, sex and educational status, an increasing number of healthy lifestyle factors was associated with decreasing risk for developing a chronic disease. Risk was reduced by 78% (95% CI, 72%-83%) in participants with all four healthy factors at baseline compared with participants with none of the healthy factors.

Specifically, the risk for developing diabetes decreased by 93% (95% CI, 88%-95%); for MI, 81% (95% CI, 47%-93%); for stroke 50% (95% CI, –18% to 79%); and for cancer, 36% (95% CI, 5%-57%).

Ford ES. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:1355-1362.