Ready to give up on those resolutions for a healthier lifestyle a mere few days into the new year? According to recent research published this week in ecancermedicalscience, sticking with healthy lifestyle changes — the kind we often make at the start of each new year — could lead to a total reduction of about one-third in cancer risk.
Sorting through data from the UK Biobank of half a million study subjects, researchers identified healthy behavior (e.g., no smoking, low BMI, regular physical activity, healthy diet, low alcohol intake) and examined them against data about cancer risk over several years.
According to the findings, researchers determined that the combination of healthy behaviors contributed to a total reduction of about one-third in cancer risk and, subsequently, to a reduction in cancer mortality.
Although not entirely surprising as most people realize the connection between healthy behaviors and overall health, the study aims instead to translate these findings into useful evidence.
"Perhaps the advice to take up one additional healthy behavior is the most acceptable message for most subjects," said Professor Peter Elwood of Cardiff University, U.K. "In our study each additional healthy behavior was associated with a reduction of about 8 percent in cancer, independent of the effects of the other behaviors. The take-home message is that healthy behaviors can have a truly tangible benefit."
"A healthy lifestyle has many benefits additional to cancer reduction — it costs nothing, has no undesirable side effects....and is better than any pill," Elwood added.