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20-07-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Modifiable health factors decrease CVD mortality risk in men


Free abstract

MedWire News: A US study reports that men may reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) by being physically active, not smoking, maintaining a normal body mass index (BMI), and having a moderate to high cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF).

"Our results also complement previous studies, which found that increasing numbers of beneficial health factors in combination reduce the risk for early mortality or the incidence of chronic disease," say Jonathan Mitchell (University of South Carolina, Columbia) and team.

They report that their findings, published in the American Heart Journal, consolidate those of a previous study, which showed "a 45% to 77% risk reduction in CVD mortality among men with a health score ranging from one to three (high CRF, normal waist girth, and nonsmoker), in comparison to men with a health score of 0."

In the current study, 38,110 men without CVD (aged 20-84 years and of middle and upper socioeconomic strata) were assigned weighted and unweighted health profile scores out of 5 and 6, respectively.

Unweighted scores were based on the allocation of 1 point for each of self-reported moderate or high physical activity, moderate to high CRF, current nonsmoking status, consumption of 1-14 alcoholic drinks per week, and normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m2).

Weighted scores were determined by allocating 3 points for a moderate or high CRF, 2 points for a current nonsmoking status, and 1 point for normal BMI. The presence of any other health factor was given 0 points.

All the men were followed-up for an average of 16.1 years, and 949 CVD-related deaths occurred during this period.

After adjusting for confounders, such as age and hypertension, the findings showed that all scored health factors (except alcohol consumption) were significantly associated with a reduced risk for CVD mortality.

Most men (n=21,270) achieved an unweighted score of 3 or 4.

Men with an unweighted score of 2 were found to have a 33% reduction in risk for CVD mortality, a reduction that increased incrementally with every 1-point increase in score, reaching a maximum CVD mortality risk reduction of 67% for men with a score of 5, compared with those with a score of 0.

Weighted scores illustrated a maximum CVD mortality risk reduction of 69% among men with a score of 6 compared with men with a score of 0.

Mitchell et al conclude: "There are multiple points throughout the lifetime where adverse exposures can contribute to the development of CVD."

They add: "It is unknown if further beneficial health factors considered in combination would continue to reduce the risk for CVD mortality."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lauretta Ihonor

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