Public health programs are increasingly looking at lifestyle factors in prevention of chronic diseases. These factors are directly related to many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. These factors have also been linked to increased incidence and mortality from cancer. The authors of a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal recommend that lifestyle factors be considered as targets for prevention. Here are some lifestyle factors to watch for:
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Smoking and alcohol consumption are both known risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption did not significantly increase the likelihood of multimorbidity. However, BMI and current or past smoking were associated with higher rates. Although the study is not conclusive, it does show that lifestyle factors are related to the risk of developing multimorbid conditions. These findings suggest that lifestyle habits are important to improving overall health.
Several studies have linked healthy lifestyle factors to life expectancy, including a low body mass index (BMI) and low consumption of alcohol. These findings are helpful for prevention, but are not conclusive. In other studies, men and women who were overweight or obese had the lowest proportions of disease-free years. For these reasons, lifestyle factors should be considered when planning an eating and exercise program. It may help to plan a healthy lifestyle around these factors, which could be beneficial for many people.
One study looked at the impact of various lifestyle factors on risk of cancer. Participants were assessed for five lifestyle factors that were associated with different health risks. For example, body mass index, smoking, physical activity, and alcohol consumption were found to be associated with higher risk of cancer. These lifestyle factors were then combined to create 16 different lifestyle profiles. The higher the score, the healthier the lifestyle. One study found that smoking was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than other groups.