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What is the best way to avoid chronic disease?
A healthy life consists of four ingredients: do not smoke, move a lot, do not get too fat and eat well. Such a healthy lifestyle reduces by 78 percent the risk of getting chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. This is the result of a long-term study by the German Institute for Nutritional Research with more than 25,000 participants.
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The ideal lifestyle
According to the study, the risk of disease is lowest for people who have never smoked, lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but eat little meat, are not overweight and move more than three and a half hours per week. The researchers have further broken down the positive effects of the ideal lifestyle: According to the diabetes risk is even reduced by 93 percent and the risk of heart attack by 81 percent. The risk of stroke is reduced by 50 percent and cancer risk by 36 percent, the institute said in Potsdam-Rehbrücke.
Simple equation for healthy life
The scientists had watched the study participants on average 49 years old study participants for a total of eight years. Nine percent of the subjects met all four healthy lifestyle criteria. Only four percent had none of these positive traits. For most of the participants, the scientists were able to assign one to three criteria. According to the Institute, the general rule was that the more of the four criteria the participants fulfilled, the lower their risk of disease.
Low BMI especially important
Researchers also looked at which combination of health-promoting behaviors is particularly beneficial. Those who have a body mass index (BMI) below 30 will reduce their risk of chronic diseases by more than half. The conclusion is an analysis published in the journal “Archives of Internal Medicine”. “This is especially true for the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said study director Heiner Boeing. The BMI is calculated from the body weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared.
There is also hope for smokers
Those who have a BMI below 30 and have never smoked, reduce the risk of becoming chronically ill, even by 70 percent. “But also smokers and ex-smokers can reduce their risk by a healthy diet, sufficient movement and normal body weight by up to 70 percent”, explained the professor.