3 Behaviors Matter More Than Weight

Behaviors matter for helping people reduce health risks, perhaps more than weight outcomes. This rule of thumb is useful, because people have more direct control over their behaviors than they have over their weight. Good news from the REGARDS study is that they’ve found three behaviors that indeed matter more than weight in preventing another heart attack or death in patients with coronary disease.

  1. Physical Activity
  2. Actually Following a Mediterranean Diet
  3. Staying Smoke-free

John Booth and colleagues analyzed data from 4,174 patients with coronary disease to determine which lifestyle modifications led to a lower risk of a heart attack or death in these patients. They found a significant effect for each of these three health behaviors, but not for weight reduction.

This study, just published in the American Journal of Cardiology, fills an important gap in the evidence base for preventing another coronary event in people with coronary disease. Lifestyle modification has been recommended for some time. These data provide evidence to support three health behaviors people can readily adopt to reduce their risk.

And they provide another reminder that assessing someone’s health solely by their weight can lead to false judgments.

Click here to read the study in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Heart Attack! Image © Mysha Islam / flickr

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