One of the new studies followed nearly 70,000 women for 20 years. The women reported on their habits, such as diet and exercise, and gave the researchers other health information every 2 years. At the start of the study, the women were an average age of 37 and none had diabetes or diseases of the heart or blood vessels.
Not only did the women who followed all six healthy habits nearly get rid of their heart attack risk -- cutting it by 92% -- they also lowered their odds of getting a risk factor, like high blood pressure, by 66%.
Here are the six habits that mattered:
- Don't smoke.
- Have a normal body mass index (BMI).
- Get moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 2.5 hours a week.
- Watch 7 or fewer hours of television weekly.
- Drink one or fewer alcoholic beverages daily.
- Eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, or omega-3 fatty acids -- as well as limit sugary drinks, processed and red meats, trans fats, and sodium.
Meeting all of these habits can be a lofty goal. Less than 5% of the women followed them all, according to the study.
But it's not a case of all or nothing, says study leader Andrea Chomistek, ScD. She's a researcher from the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health. "Even women who reported only one or two healthy behaviors had a lower risk of heart disease than those who did zero," she says.
Having a normal BMI had the most impact on lowering the risk, she says.
Even for women who developed risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, following at least four of the habits was linked with a lower risk of getting heart disease, compared to women who followed none.
The study reinforces research showing that what works for older women also works for younger women -- those who are premenopausal and who may not consider themselves old enough for a heart attack, she says. These habits are important because the overall death rate from heart disease in the U.S. has increased among younger women ages 35 to 44.
Source : https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20150107/healthy-heart-habits