Clinical research conducted by the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, shows that adopting a healthy lifestyle, even at middle age, promptly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and early death.
The research results demonstrate that adopting four healthy habits – eating five fresh fruits and vegetables daily, practising physical exercise for at least 2.5 hours per week, maintaining a reasonable weight and not smoking – is sufficient to reduce cardiovascular risks in a relatively short time.
The three main findings of the study are:
- The benefits from switching to a healthy lifestyle after the age of 45 is felt quickly in the four years that follow;
- the beneficial impact of the lifestyle switch occurs even with modest changes to habits, and;
- people adopting only three healthy habits experienced lower early mortality but not fewer cardiovascular incidents during the same period.
However, the study, conducted among a sample of the US population aged 45-64, also found that only 8.5% of middle-aged adults practise the four healthy habits and only 8.4% switch to such a lifestyle after the age of 45.