ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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