Taking health advice cuts death risk 34%

LONDON, March 29 (UPI) --
People who follow healthy lifestyle advice cut their risk of dying from certain diseases by 34 percent compared with those who don't, U.K. researchers say.



Study leader Dr. Teresa Norat of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London said the researchers investigated the diet of nearly 380,000 people in nine European countries over 12 years to see how closely they complied with recommendations for cancer prevention.



"This large European study is the first that shows there is a strong association between following the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research recommendations on body weight, physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption and breastfeeding and a reduced risk of dying from cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory diseases," Norat said in a statement.



"We compared the group of participants with the strongest adherence to the guidelines to those with the weakest adherence to calculate the level of risk reduction that would come from concordance with the recommendations."



The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, had a 50 percent reduced chance of dying from respiratory disease, 44 percent for circulatory disease and 20 percent for cancer when compared with the group with the lowest level of compliance.



The recommendations, concerning body fat, physical activity, consumption of foods and drinks that promote weight gain, consumption of plant foods, meat, alcoholic drinks and breastfeeding, were taken from the 10 cancer prevention recommendations in the WCRF/AICR 2007 Second Expert Report.



However, salt intake, which the guidelines advise should be low, was not included because it is difficult to assess. In addition, smoking was not included because the recommendations were based on nutrition-related factors, but the researchers took into account in their analyses the smoking status of the participants.



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