Dr. Dana King and his team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina have just completed a very inspirational study. Dr. King and his team set out to find if middle-aged adults could reap the rewards of habits like eating vegetables and walking 30 minutes a day.
The researchers reported in June 2007 that middle-aged adults age 45 to 64 who began eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking decreased their risk of heart disease by 35 percent and risk of death by 40 percent in the four years after they started.
“The adopters of a healthy lifestyle basically caught up. Within four years, their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been doing these behaviors all along,” said Dr. Dana King at the Medical University of South Carolina, who led the research. Dr. King added “even if you have not had a healthy lifestyle previously, it’s not too late to adopt those healthy lifestyle habits and gain almost immediate benefits.”
The four key habits are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, exercising for 2 ½ hours per week, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. The study participants who adopted all four healthy habits enjoyed a sharp decline in heart disease risk and in death from any cause.
It took all four — having just three of the healthy habits yielded no heart benefits and a more modest decrease in overall risk of death. Still, said Dr. Nichola Davis at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “These benefits are on a continuum. The more of the healthy habits that you can adapt, the better. …These are modest changes that they’re talking about.”