Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the relationship between 4 low-risk behaviors and mortality among a group of people in the United States.

First, the details.

  • Data came from 16,958 participants aged 17 years and older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study from 1988 to 2006.

And, the results.

  • 40% to 50% of the participants already practiced at least 1 of the 4 healthy behaviors.
    • Avoid Tobacco
    • Limit Alcohol: not more than 2 drinks a day, women no more than 1 drink
    • Diet: eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, switch to fat-free and low-fat dairy and seafood. Cut down on salt and foods high in sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugar, and refined grains
    • Exercise: at least 5 days a week or at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking, or at least 3 days a week do a 75 minutes of vigorous exercise such as jogging or race walking (raises heart rate more than brisk walking).
  • Compared with participants who had no low-risk behaviors, those who practiced all 4 were…
    • 66% less likely to die early from cancer
    • 65% less likely to die early from a major cardiovascular disease
    • 57% less likely to die early from other causes

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Low-risk lifestyle factors exert a powerful and beneficial effect on mortality.”

8/22/11 22:46 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.