ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
CANCER
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Get to Know the Pap Test
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Barefoot Best for Running?
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Man Dies of Brain Inflammation Caused by Deer Tick Virus
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Eat Light - Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Countdown to Hair Loss
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- All that heart-healthy advice about eating the right foods, exercising and losing weight pay off in real life for both men and women, two new studies show.

The reports, both originating at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and published in the July 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on different aspects of cardiovascular risk in two large groups: the 83,882 women in the second Nurses' Health Study, and the 20,900 men in the Physicians' Health Study I. Both arrived at the same conclusion: Do the right things, and you get measurable benefits.

Simultaneous appearance of the two reports was more or less a coincidence, said Dr. Luc Djousse, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's at Harvard Medical School, who led the men's study.

The study in men looked at the relationship between the lifetime risk of heart failure and six lifestyle factors: obesity, exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, consumption of breakfast cereals, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

"Previous studies have shown benefit from individual lifestyle factors," Djousse said. "We looked at all of these factors together."

That look found a straight-line relationship between adherence to healthy lifestyle factors and the risk of heart failure, the progressive loss of ability to pump blood that is often a prelude to death. The lifetime risk of heart failure in the 22-year study was about one in five in men who ignored the advice about all beneficial lifestyle factors and one in 10 for those who adhered to four or more of the factors.

"The one with a huge difference was adiposity," Djousse said. "The risk of heart failure was 17 percent in men who were overweight or obese, and about 11 percent in those of normal weight."

Exercise was the next most important. Heart failure occurred in 11 percent of the men who exercised five or more times a week and in 14 percent of those who did not exercise, Djousse said.

Smoking played a surprisingly small role, probably because its incidence was not high among the participants. "These were all physicians, so you would expect a smaller amount of smoking," Djousse said.

The women's study looked at the association between high blood pressure -- a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular problems -- and six lifestyle factors: obesity, exercise, alcohol intake, use of non-narcotic painkillers, adherence to a diet designed to prevent high blood pressure and intake of supplemental folic acid. All six were found to be associated with the risk of developing high blood pressure in the 14-year study, and the association was cumulative.

Women who followed advice on all six factors -- just 0.3 percent of those in the group -- had an 80 percent lower incidence of high blood pressure than those who followed none of the rules. The incidence was 72 percent lower for the 0.8 percent of the women who followed five lifestyle rules, 58 percent lower for the 1.6 percent of the women following four rules and 53 percent lower for the 3.1 percent of the women who followed three rules. As in the male group, obesity was the most important risk factor.

While the clear message of both studies is that "a healthy lifestyle prevents a number of illnesses," what is often overlooked is that the choice of a healthy lifestyle is not a purely individual decision, said Dr. Veronique L. Roger, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic, who wrote an accompanying editorial.

"There is a shared responsibility between the individual and the community," said Roger, who read off a dictionary definition of lifestyle as "a typical way of life of an individual, group or culture."

"The reality is that society has engineered physical activity out of our lives," Roger said. "And it is difficult for me to tell someone in Nebraska to follow the Mediterranean diet, which is anchored in the culture of that society."

Government interventions, such as the decision of New York and other communities, to bar smoking in restaurants and bars, can help more people achieve the healthy lifestyles described in the two reports, she said.

SOURCES: Luc Djousse, M.D., Sc.D, associate epidemiologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and associate professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Veronique L. Roger, M.D., professor, medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; July 22/29, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association