Healthy living could prevent half of all deaths caused by cancer, a new major study reveals. The study comes to counteract the idea that cancer is unpredictable and unpreventable and could encourage more to follow a healthy diet.
The study was conducted by scientists at Harvard Medical School on a sample of 136,000 white men and women who were following the courses of Nurses’ Health Study or those of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The researchers reviewed the information provided by the participants, who had provided detailed information about their lifestyle throughout the years. They were divided into two groups, the first including people who had followed a healthy lifestyle, the so-called low-risk group. The rest, who had not lived according to the principles of healthy living, were considered the high-risk group.
A healthy lifestyle was defined by the study authors as one that followed four major guidelines. Firstly, everyone who wants to lower their risk of developing cancer should not smoke/quit smoking. Secondly, the recommended amount of physical exercise should be a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes or more vigorous workout. Thirdly, people should maintain their body mass between 18.5 and 27.5. Lastly, the daily intake of alcohol should not exceed one drink for women and two in the case of men. Failing to follow either one of these guidelines could increase the risk of developing cancer, the study showed.
When comparing the two groups, researchers found that both men and women in the high-risk group were more likely to get cancer as well as to die from the disease. Accordingly, 25 percent of women and 33 percent of men in the group were likelier to to develop cancer. Moreover, 48 percent and 44 percent of men were more likely to die from the disease. By contrast, the study showed that following a healthy diet could reduce cancer cases by 20 to 40 percent and cut the number of deaths by half.
The study highlights the idea that prevention is the best way to counter the threat of developing cancer and works better than any medication. That is why, prevention should remain a “priority”, the researchers argued.
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