Many Benefits Of Being Healthy

Before you dismiss this study on the benefits of being healthy as wasted effort... consider this. Researchers spend lots of time studying what makes us sick, not what keeps us healthy, until now. A new study finds that healthy behaviors - eating right and exercising for example - bring down the risk of an early death by as much as 76%.

It might be common sense according to researchers but that doesn't mean it's common practice for as many as it should be. We all know what brings up the risk of heart disease, and if you can do things that delay (or prevent) that, you lower your risk over the long term, and thus live longer and healthier.

The team relied on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES for short). They used this information to examine seven aspects of healthy living in almost 45,000 adults over 20 years old between the years 1988 and 2010.

The 7 healthy living measures included:

- not smoking
- being active
- healthy blood pressure
- healthy blood sugar
- healthy cholesterol levels
- balanced diet
- normal weight

Those who were "ideal" in six or more areas were 76% less apt to die as result of heart disease; and had a 51% lower chance of dying from other causes, even cancer. This group was also 70% less likely to be diagnosed with ischemic heart disease.

Only 2.1% of the study population was considered "ideal" for six or more markers. These people were often younger, more educated and female. The majority of the study participants were healthy on at least three out of seven parameters.

While each of the seven factors had an impact on health, an ideal blood pressure had the largest impact on health, dropping risk of heart disease by an amazing 40%. Today there are almost 68 million U.S. adults who are considered hypertensive... if you could drop that number by 10%, this prevents 14,000 heart events each year.

And while under 1% of the American population eats a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with limited salt and sugar, doing so brings down the chance of cardiovascular disease by 13%. The same percentage you get from not smoking.

Smoking has gone down since 1988 when the study began, blood sugar readings (a marker for diabetes) as well as weight have gone up. Researchers believe that if doctors can shift people toward behaviors that foster ideal cardiovascular health we really can take steps toward reducing the risk of disease and death.

There are lots of ways to help your heart stay healthy according to the editorial that appeared alongside the study. Doctors can continue to work with patients at risk so they can take a step from poor to better health.

Today heart disease is known to be the number one cause of death here in the United States. It takes the lives of almost 600,000 of us annually according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. Living healthier to take advantage of the many benefits of being healthy is one way to reduce your chances of being one of this number.

Article Source: Kirsten_Whittaker

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