Following 6 healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent heart disease in nearly 3 out of 4 women, according to researchers from Indiana University, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Researchers analyzed data on 69,247 nurses and studied their diets and other health habits. They found that women who adhered to all six healthy lifestyle practices had 92 percent lower risk of heart attack and 66 percent lower risk of developing a risk factor for heart disease. This lower risk means that if all of the women had adhered to all six healthy lifestyle factors, three quarters of heart attacks and nearly half of all risk factors in younger women may have been prevented. In women who were diagnosed with a risk factor, adherence to at least four of the healthy lifestyle factors was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease when compared to women who did not follow any of the healthy lifestyle practices.
Andrea K. Chomistek, ScD, a researcher from the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomingtonm, said, "Although mortality rates from heart disease in the U.S. have been in steady decline for the last four decades, women aged 35-44 have not experienced the same reduction and this disparity may be explained by unhealthy lifestyle choices. This is an important public health message. Women should begin following these lifestyle practices early in life, especially if they are already taking medication for a risk factor such as hypertension or high cholesterol. It's an easy way to prevent future heart trouble."
The study is published in the 'Journal of the American College of Cardiology'.