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SOURCE: The JAMA Network Journals
A “healthy lifestyle pattern” was defined as never or past smoking; no or moderate drinking of alcohol (one or less drink a day for women, two or less drinks a day for men); BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity. Individuals who met all four criteria were considered low risk and everyone else was high risk.
The study included 89,571 women and 46,399 men; 16,531 women and 11,731 had a healthy lifestyle pattern (low-risk group) and the remaining 73,040 women and 34,608 men were high risk.
The authors calculated population-attributable risk (PAR), which can be interpreted as the proportion of cases that would not occur if all the individuals adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.
The authors suggest about 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.
The authors note that including only white individuals in their PAR estimates may not be generalizable to other ethnic groups but the factors they considered have been established as risk factors in diverse ethnic groups too.
“These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control,” the authors conclude.
As those long, cold winter months set in, night begins to fall earlier every day, and we stay inside huddled in front of the television more than we should and a subtle shadow falls over us. We avoid walking, and don’t get the exercise we’re used to when it’s warmer outside. Colds and flu come more often, and that winter depression gets worse as we must spend days on end, under the covers, with large boxes of Kleenex, cups and cups of tea, or even worse, bottles of syrupy medicine that make us drowsy. Those happier summertime activities we love so much, walks through the neighborhood, picnics by the river, and outdoor sports, are all just distant memories.
Children don’t seem to be as bothered with winter’s grey. They run, play soccer or kickball, or if they’re really lucky, sled, throw snowballs and generally go about their business of playing.
As an adult, the response is often different: “It’s too cold/wet/dark/grey. Let’s stay in and watch a movie.” Winter depression sets in.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is still a mystery, even to medical professionals. Some of the problem is attributed to a simple lack of sunlight, but there is more to the winter blues. Possibly the best cure is simply to think like a kid. How many eight-year-olds get the winter blues? Not very many – unlike adults, who see cold weather as an excuse to stay inside and brood, children see cold weather as an excuse to go outside and have an adventure.
You don’t have to be a doctor to know that just getting out of the recliner and doing something is going to help. The UK’s National Health Service issued several recommendations, including use of a light box, or even sitting by a window for a while every day, but one of their most useful recommendations is “keep active.”
30 minutes of vigorous exercise, three times a week, is effective against depression and winter-time blues. And while any exercise is good exercise, getting off the treadmill in your den and going outside is going to give you a double benefit, with the report noting, “If you have a tendency towards SAD, outdoor exercise will have a double benefit, because you’ll gain some daylight.”
Adapted from “The Good Med Project”; see full article here.
Enjoy this Ted Talk about how close and connected relationships lead to more health and happiness.