Approximately two-thirds of heart events could be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, based on a recent study of nearly half a million Chinese adults.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, this study analyzed data from a large Chinese cohort called the China Kadoorie Biobank. The goal was to assess the heart benefits of a healthy lifestyle in a non-white population, since most studies include white adults from developed countries.
Between 2004 and 2008, more than 461,000 healthy Chinese adults enrolled in the study. Upon enrollment, participants completed questionnaires and medical exams that covered six key factors, including diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, weight, waist circumference, and smoking status, all of which are closely linked to heart health.
Participants were between 30 and 79 years old and were followed for roughly 7 years.
During the follow-up period, there were a total of 3,331 serious heart events and 19,348 strokes. After analysis, researchers found that adults with a healthy lifestyle had significantly lower risk for heart events and stroke than those with unhealthy lifestyles.
Compared to participants with no healthy lifestyle factors, adults with at least four of the six healthy lifestyle factors had 58% lower risk for heart attack and 39% lower risk for stroke. Researchers also calculated that nearly two-thirds of serious heart events and more than one-third of strokes could have been prevented with a healthy lifestyle over ten years.
According to authors, findings reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle when it comes to heart health. Past studies suggest that a healthy lifestyle is associated with 80% lower risk for heart disease and 50% lower risk for stroke in largely white populations. Based on this study’s findings, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are similar in Chinese adults.
As a result, authors highlight the importance of adhering to a healthy lifestyle, which means staying active, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and not consuming excess alcohol. Together, these factors can help significantly reduce risk for heart disease and improve overall health.