Almost everyday we are told about the wonderful medical breakthroughs on the horizon and how they will change our lives; but do they?  With all the time and money that goes into medical research one would expect that we would be the healthiest we have ever been in history, but we know that this is not the case.  Not only are we at one of our sickest times in history, but many underdeveloped counties without our vast resources remain much healthier than us.

The bottom line is that we’re sick! The good news is that we can fix it without costly medical interventions.  What if I told you that there are four simple things you can do that would almost eliminate the chance of sick?  A study of over 23,000 Germans concluded that the follow diseases could be reduced significantly with four simple lifestyle modifications:diabetes by 93%, myocardial infarction by 81%, stroke by 50% and cancer 36%.

Here is a list of the lifestyle modifications that produced these positive effects: 1) not smoking, 2) keeping your BMI under 30,  3) getting 3.5 hours a week of physical activity, and 4) adopting a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, grains and low in meats.  Doesn’t sound so bad when you consider the benefits.

To determine your BMI (body mass index) visit the NIH website BMI Calculator.

For those of you who are not smokers your a quarter of the way to decreasing your chances of diabetes by 93% and heart attack ny 81%!  Take small steps and remember that physical activity can be performed in many different fashions and doesn’t always require going to the gym.

The following is the original study:

Healthy living is the best revenge: findings from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study.

Arch Intern Med. 2009 Aug 10;169(15):1355-62.

Ford ES, Bergmann MM, Kröger J, Schienkiewitz A, Weikert C, Boeing H.
Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. eford@cdc.gov

BACKGROUND: Our objective was to describe the reduction in relative risk of developing major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer associated with 4 healthy lifestyle factors among German adults.

METHODS: We used data from 23,153 German participants aged 35 to 65 years from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study. End points included confirmed incident type 2 diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cancer. The 4 factors were never smoking, having a body mass index lower than 30 (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), performing 3.5 h/wk or more of physical activity, and adhering to healthy dietary principles (high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain bread and low meat consumption). The 4 factors (healthy, 1 point; unhealthy, 0 points) were summed to form an index that ranged from 0 to 4.

RESULTS: During a mean follow-up of 7.8 years, 2006 participants developed new-onset diabetes (3.7%), myocardial infarction (0.9%), stroke (0.8%), or cancer (3.8%). Fewer than 4% of participants had zero healthy factors, most had 1 to 3 healthy factors, and approximately 9% had 4 factors. After adjusting for age, sex, educational status, and occupational status, the hazard ratio for developing a chronic disease decreased progressively as the number of healthy factors increased. Participants with all 4 factors at baseline had a 78% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72% to 83%) lower risk of developing a chronic disease (diabetes, 93% [95% CI, 88% to 95%]; myocardial infarction, 81% [95% CI, 47% to 93%]; stroke, 50% [95% CI, -18% to 79%]; and cancer, 36% [95% CI, 5% to 57%]) than participants without a healthy factor.

CONCLUSION: Adhering to 4 simple healthy lifestyle factors can have a strong impact on the prevention of chronic diseases.