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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Study produces expected results

The risk of developing bowel cancer is one-third lower among those who lead a healthy lifestyle. This is a conclusion that can be drawn from a study conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE), which is a subsidiary study of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). This fairly predictable result is based on an analysis of data collected from approximately 347,000 adults aged 25 to 70 from ten European countries including Germany. The participants filled in questionnaires about their eating habits and lifestyles.

What defines a health-promoting lifestyle?

Five health-promoting lifestyle markers were determined: being a non-smoker, drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol, normal weight (BMI lower than 25 or a waist circumference of less than 80 cm for women and less than 94 cm for men), being physically active and eating healthily. According to the scientists’ definition, a healthy diet comprises quite a lot of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain products, plenty of nuts and seeds, enough fish and yoghurt, and only small quantities of red and processed meats.

A healthy lifestyle combats bowel cancer

The conclusion: Each of the five health-promoting lifestyle markers reduced the risk of bowel cancer. The risk of developing the disease was reduced by 13 per cent among participants who fulfilled two of the factors under consideration. People whose lives fulfilled no more than one of these positive characteristics acted as a control group. With three factors in place, the probability of developing the disease dropped by as much as 21 per cent; with four by 34 per cent; and when all five factors were in place the risk dropped by 37 per cent. The correlation was closer for men than for women, and in particular in relation to rectal cancer.

Up to 22% of new cases are preventable

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, particularly in industrialised countries. It consists of a malignant tumour in the colon or rectum, which usually develops from intestinal polyps. According to the study up to 22 per cent of new cases in men and eleven per cent in women could be avoided by leading a healthy lifestyle. Further studies will aim to show which other lifestyle habits also influence the risk of developing cancer.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de