A Healthy Lifestyle Beats Good Genes

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 31, 2011 · 0 comments

A new study confirms that your good health is not a gift from your parents but is more likely the result of leading a healthy life. Researchers followed three generations of black and white individuals (more than 16,000 people), who were 18 to 30 years old at the beginning of the study. They wanted to see if genes or the way we lived was the key to preventing heart disease.

For those who lead a healthy life, they remained at low risk for heart disease in middle age. The five healthy lifestyle factors identified to be protective were:

  • Not smoking
  • Drinking little or no alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy weight throughout adulthood
  • Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle
  • Eating well

Sixty percent of those that followed all healthy lifestyle factors were still in the low-risk category for heart disease in middle age. For those that followed at least 4 healthy habits, 37% remained in the low-risk category for heart disease; 30% for 3 healthy habits; 17% for 2 healthy habits; and 6% for 1 or zero healthy habits. The risk profile held for white, black, women and men. This showed that sex and race did not factor into risk if one lead a healthy life.  How you live may be more important than the genes your inhertited.

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