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Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Can Also Reduce Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Subjects who are enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and are meeting goals for six to seven ideal health metrics have a 51 percent lower risk of incident cancer than those not meeting any goals for ideal health metrics, according to research published online March 18 in Circulation.

Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues assessed the association between adherence to the seven American Heart Association (AHA) cardiovascular health metrics (diet, smoking, physical activity, body mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose, and total cholesterol) and the incidence of cancers in 13,253 participants of the ARIC study, a multicenter, prospective study, with over 17 to 19 years of follow-up.

According to the researchers, there was a significant, graded, inverse association between the number of ideal health metrics and combined cancer incidence over the follow-up period. Participants meeting three ideal health metrics had a 25 percent lower risk of incident cancer than those with zero ideal health metrics. Participants meeting six to seven health metrics had a 51 percent lower risk of incident cancer than those meeting zero ideal health metrics. When smoking was removed from the ideal health metrics, participants with five or six ideal health metrics had a 25 percent lower risk of incident cancer than those with zero ideal health metrics.

"In conclusion, in the ARIC cohort, there was a significant inverse relation between the number of ideal cardiovascular health metrics at baseline, as defined by the AHA, and combined cancer incidence," the authors write. "These results should encourage the AHA in their efforts to partner with cancer and other chronic disease advocacy groups to promote the AHA 2020 goals to reduce the burden of CVD as well as other highly prevalent chronic diseases."

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