Maintaining healthy lifestyles can significantly reduce the risk of cancer, with each additional healthy lifestyle reducing the risk by six per cent, according to recent research.

Breast cancer awareness

The research was based on the data from more than 100,000 Chinese adults.

Many studies conducted in Western populations have shown that adopting a favourable lifestyle pattern was associated with lower risks of cancer.

However, evidence regarding this relationship in the Chinese population remains limited.

Researchers from the Fuwai Hospital under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences evaluated the association between clustering of healthy lifestyle factors and cancer risk based on data collected from more than 100,000 Chinese adults.

By referring to the international report Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective and the Dietary guidelines for Chinese residents, researchers listed six healthy lifestyle factors to reduce the risk.

The listed factors including not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate physical activity, restricting alcohol consumption, adequate vegetable and fruit consumption and limited red meat consumption.

Results showed that 83.4 per cent of the participants had three to five healthy lifestyle factors, whereas only 9.1 per cent had all six healthy lifestyle factors.

About 7.5 per cent had no more than three healthy lifestyle factors.

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Participants with six healthy lifestyle factors had a 17 per cent lower risk of cancer compared with those with no more than three healthy lifestyle factors.

The incidence of overall cancer decreased along with an increasing number of healthy lifestyle factors.

Each additional healthy lifestyle factor was associated with a six per cent lower risk of cancer.

Healthy lifestyles are most relevant to reducing the risk of lung cancer and colorectal cancer.

Approximately 47.4 per cent of liver cancer cases and 31.9 per cent of colorectal cancer cases were attributed to unhealthy lifestyle factors.

The research also showed that only 4.8 per cent of the male participants had all six healthy lifestyle factors and male participants with at least three healthy lifestyle factors were less than 60 per cent.

Among the male participants, 18.4 per cent of cancers were attributed to unhealthy lifestyles, which would have been prevented with healthy lifestyle factors.

According to Gu Dongfeng, the leading researcher, the research revealed the importance of keeping healthy lifestyles in reducing cancer risk.

It also provides a reference for China’s health policies and the promotion of healthy lifestyles to reduce the increasing burden of cancer.

The research was published in the journal Cancer. (Xinhua/NAN)


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