“There are limited data on the use of healthy lifestyles among adults who are candidates for primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) with statin therapy due to a 10-year predicted risk of 7.5 percent or higher,” notes Mr. John N. Booth III, a graduate trainee and PhD candidate in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Therefore, he and an international team of researchers recently ascertained the prevalence of healthy lifestyle factors and their link to incident ASCVD and all-cause mortality in participants of the REason for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. UAB co-investigators are Dr. Paul Muntner, professor and vice chair in the department of epidemiology; Dr. George Howard, professor in the department of biostatistics; Dr. Lisandro D. Colantonio, PhD candidate in the department of epidemiology; and Dr. Monika M. Safford, professor in the division of preventive medicine.
In 5,709 study participants, the team assessed five healthy lifestyle factors that were measured using interviewer-administered questionnaires and during an in-home examination, including non-obese waist circumference, physical activity five or more times per week, non-smoking, low saturated fat intake, and highest Mediterranean diet score quartile. Incident ASCVD — defined as non-fatal/fatal stroke, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and coronary heart disease death — and all-cause mortality were identified through active follow-up of participants and adjudicated.
Mr. Booth reports that less than a third of the study participants had three, four, or five of the healthy lifestyle factors studied. In addition, the results demonstrate that participants with more healthful lifestyle factors had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality.
The researchers concluded that healthy lifestyles that may substantially reduce ASCVD risk are underutilized by high-risk American adults.
“Healthy Lifestyle Factors and Incident Heart Disease and Mortality in Candidates for Primary Prevention with Statin Therapy” was published online in January in the International Journal of Cardiology.