Most of us are connected with someone whose life has been affected by a cancer diagnosis. With the increase of disease, people are becoming empowered to take care of their health and many include preventative medicine in their self-care.
Five key healthy lifestyle behaviors lower risk of developing colorectal cancer
A new study reports that adopting five key healthy lifestyle behaviors have been associated with a reduction of risk for developing bowel cancer. The German Institute of Human Nutrition completed the study, where researchers quantified the impact of combining several healthy lifestyle behaviors on the risk of bowel cancer. The study found that the improvement was more significant for men than women. (1)
Lead author, Krasimira Aleksandrova, says, “This data provides additional incentive to individuals, medical professionals and public health authorities to invest in healthy lifestyle initiatives. Each person can contribute a lot to avoid cancer, and the more healthy lifestyle changes, the better.” (1,3)
Bowel cancer or colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer for men and the third most common for women in the world. Fifty-five percent of cases occur in North America and Western Europe. Prior studies have shown links between cancer frequency and western lifestyle. (1)
Researchers analyzed 347,237 men and women from 10 countries using the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study. The study spanned for 12 years and in this time 3,759 cases of bowel cancer were reported. (1,2)
The research team observed the healthy lifestyle index that investigated the following: healthy weight; low abdominal fat; participating in regular physical activity; not smoking and limited alcohol; diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, yogurt, nuts and seeds; food rich in fiber; and low amounts of red and processed meat. (1,3)
When evaluating each of these points, participants were given one point for having a healthy factor and zero for not having the healthy factor. The points were then generated to form a cumulative score for each individual. (1,3)
Participants with all five healthy lifestyle behaviors have a 37 percent lower risk for bowel cancer
Krasimira Aleksandrova, says, “Our data confirmed that with a number of healthy lifestyle behaviors, the risk that a person will have of developing bowel cancer decreases.” (1)
The research team found that the more healthy lifestyle behaviors that were adopted, the lower the risk for bowel cancer. In comparison to those who had one healthy lifestyle behavior, those who had a combination of two had a 13 percent lower risk, a combination of three had a 21 percent lower risk, a combination of four had a 34 percent lower risk, and a combination of all five had a 37 percent lower risk. (1)
Krasimira Aleksandrova, explains, “Estimates based on our study populations suggest that up to 22% of the cases in men and 11% of the cases in women would have been prevented if all five of the healthy lifestyle behaviors had been followed. Our results particularly demonstrate the potential for prevention in men who are at a higher risk of bowel cancer than women.” (1,2)
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