UC San Diego writes that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. However, for many people, heart disease can be preventable. Research has shown even if you’re at high risk due to family history or other factors, you can significantly lower that risk by making healthy lifestyle choices. The American Heart Association has reported on an added benefit of a heart healthy lifestyle in a news release on March 18, 2013, Heart-healthy lifestyle also reduces cancer risk.
According to new research, following the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 steps to reduce your risk for heart disease can also help prevent cancer. Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and lead author of the study, has said, “We were gratified to know adherence to the Life’s Simple 7 goals was also associated with reduced incidence of cancer. This can help health professionals provide a clear, consistent message about the most important things people can do to protect their health and lower their overall risk for chronic diseases.”
In this study, adhering to six or seven of the factors reduced the risk of cancer by 51 percent, compared with participants who met none of the factors. Meeting four factors led to a 33 percent reduction, and one or two factors to a 21 percent reduction. Life’s Simple 7 is part of the American Heart Association’s My Life Check campaign, that advises Americans to adhere to seven factors for a healthy heart These factors are, "being physically active, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, keeping blood pressure down, regulating blood sugar levels, and not smoking.
Rasmussen-Torvik has said, “We’re trying to help promote a comprehensive health message. Quitting smoking is very important, but there are other factors you need to be aware of if you want to live a healthy life.” Rasmussen-Torvik has also said, “This adds to the strong body of literature suggesting that it’s never too late to change, and that if you make changes like quitting smoking and improving your diet, you can reduce your risk for both cardiovascular disease and cancer.”