Northwestern University Logo There is no doubt that any initiative taken to improve our health will not go futile, it will manifest itself in some form or the other. This is seemingly true in this case as scientists at the Northwestern University have revealed that behaviors and risk factors which are known to reduce the prevalence of heart disease could also lower the risk of several cancers by almost 40%.

The list is inclusive of tumors in the lung, breast, prostate, and colon. 7 primary cardiovascular behaviors such as healthy diet, lots of physical exertion, no smoking, optimum weight, normal blood pressure and right proportions of cholesterol and blood sugar were analyzed. The trial constituted nearly 13,360 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

“It’s a big bonus that a healthy lifestyle not only protects you from cardiovascular disease but also helps you avoid cancer. That awareness should provide extra motivation for people to adopt these behaviors. Even if we remove smoking from our score, we still see the overall beneficial effect,” opined lead investigator Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The team found that conforming to just 1 of the aforementioned actions seemed to cut cancer risk by 20%, whereas implementing 5 to 7 of these behaviors decreased risk by 40%. The set of 7 such beneficial attributes is known as the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life’s Simple 7.

The findings were presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando.