It's Best To Start Following A Healthy Lifestyle When You're Young! Paying Attention To Dietary Factors, Nutrition & Fitness During Your Early 20s Can Impact Your Heart Health in Your 40s...
According to a new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine... Starting a healthy lifestyle during young adulthood and maintaining it into your 40s is strongly associated with low cardiovascular disease risk in middle age.
"The problem is few adults can maintain ideal cardiovascular health factors as they age," explained Kiang Liu, lead researcher and author of the study. "Many middle-aged adults develop unhealthy diets, gain weight and aren't as physically active. Such lifestyles, of course, lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and elevated cardiovascular risk."
"In this study, even people with a family history of heart problems were able to have a low cardiovascular disease risk profile if they started living a healthy lifestyle when they were young," Liu said. "This supports the notion that lifestyle may play a more prominent role than genetics."
Published in the journal Circulation, this study shows the association of a healthy lifestyle maintained throughout young adulthood and middle age with reduced cardiovascular disease risk in middle age.
The majority of people who maintained crucial healthy lifestyle factors from young adulthood were able to remain in this low-risk category in their middle-aged years.
The 5 Key Healthy Lifestyle Factors Include:
Lean body mass index (BMI),
No excess alcohol intake,
Following a healthy diet
Regular physical activity
In the first year of the study, when the participants' average age was 24 years old, nearly 44 percent had a low cardiovascular disease risk profile. However, twenty (20) years later, overall, only 24.5 percent fell into the category of a low cardiovascular disease risk profile.
Sixty percent (60%) of those who maintained all five healthy lifestyles reached middle age with the low cardiovascular risk profile, compared with fewer than 5 percent who followed none of the healthy lifestyles.
The researchers used data collected over 20 years from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young) Adults (CARDIA) study. It began in 1985 and 1986 with thousands of 18 to 30 year-olds, and has since followed the same group of participants.
For this study, the researchers analyzed data including: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, BMI, alcohol intake, tobacco use, diet and exercise from more than 3,000 of the CARDIA participants to define a low cardiovascular disease risk profile and healthy lifestyle factors.
Teach Your Children... The next generation of young people will be more likely to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles, and they will gain even more long term benefits than heart health, the researchers explained.
"Many studies suggest that people who have low cardiovascular risk in middle age will have a better quality of life, will live longer and will have lower Medicare costs in their older age," Liu said.
"There are a lot of benefits to maintaining a low-risk profile." The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health funded this important healthcare research.
Story Source: Northwestern University (2012, March). Lifestyle choices made in your 20s can impact your heart health in your 40s.
Journal Reference: Healthy Lifestyle Through Young Adulthood and the Presence of Low Cardiovascular Disease Risk Profile in Middle Age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young) Adults (CARDIA) Study. Circulation, 2012 This article is for informational and educational
purposes only; It is not intended to provide
medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.