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A healthy lifestyle could reduce myocardial infarction by almost 80%

Comment by Pedro Marques-Vidal, EACPR Prevention, Epidemiology and Population Science Section

Low-Risk Diet and Lifestyle Habits in the Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction in Men
A. Åkesson et al.
J Am Coll Cardiol 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.06.1190


Researchers in Sweden followed over 20,000 men for 11 years and assessed the probability of developing myocardial infarction according to different healthy behaviours. A healthy diet alone reduced by one third (35%) the risk of myocardial infarction. A healthy diet associated with four other healthy behaviours: moderate alcohol consumption, abstaining from smoking, exercising at least 1/h week and cycling/walking >40 min/day, and being slim, decreased the risk of myocardial infarction by 86%. The authors estimated that this combination of healthy behaviours could prevent almost eight out of ten myocardial infarctions.

These findings add further arguments to the longstanding evidence that a healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone of primary prevention, achieving better results than any drug therapy.

The results from this study also suggest that efforts should be directed to help adopting such healthy behaviours, as only 1% of the men managed to have all of them.