Four lifestyle factors combined and cardiovascular disease

A healthful diet and lifestyle is related to low CVD risk

A Mediterranean style diet, a high level of physical activity, not smoking and moderate alcohol consumption were all associated with low 10-year risk of CHD and CVD in the European HALE project. A very low risk of these diseases was observed in elderly men who had four compared to those who had none or one healthful diet and lifestyle factor. We estimate that among elderly men who did not adhere to a low-risk lifestyle pattern, 64% of deaths due to CHD and 61% due to CVD might have been prevented based on the observed risk differences.

Interpretation

Among elderly men, the more healthful factors of diet and lifestyle the lower the CVD mortality observed. More than 60% of CVD mortality was associated with lack of adherence to the low-risk pattern. This finding implies that even at advanced ages those who follow a Mediterranean style diet and maintain a healthful lifestyle are less likely to die from CVD.

About the HALE project

The HALE (Healthy Ageing: a Longitudinal study in Europe) project started in 2001 as an extension of three longitudinal studies: the 35-year follow-up data of the Seven Countries Study, the Finland, Italy, Netherlands Elderly (FINE) study and the Survey in Europe on Nutrition in the Elderly: a Concerted Action (SENECA) project. Read more about the HALE project.

More about healthy aging

From 1984 onwards, additional studies started to examine indicators of healthy ageing in the elderly populations of in the SCS and related studies.


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Serum cholesterol and coronary heart disease

Cholesterol found in the blood serum is, in higher quantities, associated with a higher incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD). This is the conclusion after observing serum cholesterol levels and CHD risk mortality for forty years.

Smoking and cardiovascular disease

An analysis using data from Seven Countries Study showed that CHD mortality was 5% higher in men who smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day compared to those who never smoked.