Simple lifestyle changes can reduce people's risk of both heart disease and cancer, a study has shown.
People who adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle may also benefit from a reduced risk of cancer, new research has found.
US scientists looked at the impact of seven lifestyle choices that are known to reduce the risk of heart disease on the likelihood of developing cancer in more than 13,000 people.
Participants were followed up around 20 years after enrolling in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study to see if they had been diagnosed with cancer.
The researchers then looked to see whether adhering to the following seven heart-healthy lifestyle factors influenced people's risk of cancer: being physically active; keeping a healthy weight; eating healthily; maintaining healthy cholesterol levels; keeping blood pressure down; regulating blood sugar levels; and not smoking.
Publishing their findings in the journal Circulation, the study authors revealed that people who adhered to six or seven factors benefited from a 51 per cent reduction in their risk of cancer, compared with those who met none of the goals.
Meeting four factors was associated with a 33 per cent reduced risk, while achieving one or two factors led to a 21 per cent risk reduction.
Lead author Dr Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said that the findings provide a "clear, consistent message" about the most important steps people can take to reduce their risk of chronic diseases.
She concluded: "This adds to the strong body of literature suggesting that it's never too late to change and that, if you make changes like quitting smoking and improving your diet, you can reduce your risk for both cardiovascular disease and cancer."
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