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A study of 111,966 men and women over age 14 found that nonsmokers who followed recommendations for cancer prevention had a lower risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-causes. The study appears early online in Cancer Biomarkers, Epidemiology, and Prevention, and was led by American Cancer Society epidemiologists.


A news release notes that few studies have evaluated the combined impact of following recommended lifestyle behaviors on cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality, and most such earlier studies included tobacco avoidance as one of the recommendations. Because eight in 10 Americans are never or former smokers, the researchers wanted to more clearly understand the impact of other recommended behaviors.


The team, led by Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, of the American Cancer Society used diet and lifestyle questionnaires filled out in 1992 and 1993 by 111,966 non-smoking men and women in the Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-II Nutrition Cohort. The participants were scored on a range of 0 to 8 points to reflect adherence to the ACS cancer prevention guidelines regarding body mass index, physical activity, diet, and alcohol consumption, with 8 points representing adherence to all of the recommendations simultaneously.


After 14 years, men and women with high compliance scores (7 or 8) had a 42% lower risk of death compared with those with low scores (0-2). The risk of cardiovascular death was 48% lower among men and 58% lower among women, while the risk of cancer death was 30% lower in men and 24% lower in women. Similar associations, albeit not all statistically significant, were observed for never and former smokers.