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Healthy Habits Could Prevent Most Coronary Events

Researchers identify five healthy choices that reduce risk in middle-aged and older men

TUESDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged and older men, a combination of five healthy lifestyle practices -- healthy diet, moderate-to-vigorous activity for at least 30 minutes a day, maintenance of a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 kg/m2, not smoking and drinking alcohol only in moderation -- may prevent a majority of coronary heart disease (CHD) events, according to a study published online July 3 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Stephanie E. Chiuve, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied 42,847 male health professionals aged 40 to 75 who were disease-free in 1986 and followed them for 16 years.

The researchers found that men who were at low risk for all five lifestyle factors had a lower risk of CHD (relative risk: 0.13) compared with men who were not low risk in any lifestyle variable. Among the entire cohort, they determined that 62 percent of coronary events may have been prevented with a low-risk lifestyle. Among men taking medication for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia, they determined that such a lifestyle may have prevented 57 percent of all coronary events.

"This study underscores the extent to which healthy lifestyle changes can lower the risk of CHD, even during middle age or later in life," the authors state.

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