Home » News » Lifestyle Has Large Impact on Women’s Health

Lifestyle Has Large Impact on Women’s Health

womanA new long-term study reveals that among young to middle-aged women death from chronic illness may be significantly reduced if a healthy lifestyle is embraced.

Women aged 34 to 59 years were followed for 24 years with researchers discovering that over half of deaths in women from chronic diseases — such as cancer and heart disease — could be avoided if they never smoke, keep their weight in check, take exercise and eat a healthy diet low in red meat and trans-fats.

The study is published on bmj.com.

It is well known that diet, lack of physical activity, being overweight, alcohol consumption and smoking increase the risk of disease including cancer and diabetes, but little research has examined combinations of lifestyle factors in younger populations and women.

Dr Rob van Dam and his team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, recruited nearly 80 000 women aged 34 to 59 years in 1980 who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study in the US. They analysed the data of over 1.5 million person-years follow up over a 24 year period.

Participants completed detailed follow-up questionnaires every two years about their diet, frequency of physical activity, alcohol intake, weight, how much they smoked, and disease history. Deaths were confirmed by next of kin and the National Death Index.

Over the follow-up period the authors documented 8,882 deaths including 1,790 from heart disease and 4,527 from cancer.

The authors estimated that 28 percent of these deaths could have been avoided if women had never smoked and that 55 percent could have been avoided if women had combined never smoking, regular physical activity, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

Alcohol intake did not substantially change this estimate, although heavy alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of dying from cancer.

Smoking was found to be the biggest cause of premature death but all the other factors also contributed.

Interestingly, women with light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (up to 1 drink a day) were less likely to die from cardiovascular diseases than alcohol abstainers.

The authors believe the results of this research indicate that more needs to be done to eradicate smoking and to encourage individuals to take regular exercise and eat healthily.

They conclude that “even modest differences in lifestyle can have a substantial impact on reducing mortality rates”.

Source: BMJ -British Medical Journal

Lifestyle Has Large Impact on Women’s Health

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Lifestyle Has Large Impact on Women’s Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/09/17/lifestyle-has-large-impact-on-womens-health/2951.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.