Non-smokers who followed cancer prevention guidelines had a lower risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-causes, a study of more than 100,000 men and women over 14 years has found.
Few studies have evaluated the combined impact of following recommended lifestyle behaviours on cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality, and most of those included tobacco avoidance as one of the recommendations.
Because eight in ten Americans are never or former smokers, researchers wanted to more clearly understand the impact of other recommended behaviours.
For their study, researchers led by Marji McCullough at the American Cancer Society used diet and lifestyle questionnaires filled out in 1992 and 1993 by 111,966 non-smoking men and women in the Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-II Nutrition Cohort.
The participants were scored on a range from 0 to 8 points to reflect adherence to the American Cancer Society (ACS) cancer prevention guidelines regarding body mass index, physical activity, diet, and alcohol consumption, with 8 points representing adherence to all of the recommendations simultaneously.
After 14 years, men and women with high compliance scores (7, 8) had a 42 percent lower risk of death compared to those with low scores (0-2).
Risk of cardiovascular disease death were 48 percent lower among men and 58 percent lower among women, while the risk of cancer death was 30 percent lower in men and 24 percent lower in women.
Similar associations, albeit not all statistically significant, were observed for never and former smokers.
The researchers conclude that adhering to cancer prevention guidelines for obesity, diet, physical activity, and alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-causes in non-smokers.
They say beyond tobacco avoidance, following other cancer prevention guidelines may substantially lower risk of premature mortality in older adults.
The study, led by American Cancer Society epidemiologists, appears online in Cancer Biomarkers, Epidemiology, and Prevention.