If we take a movie like Project X and pair it with the music of any 20-something artist, we might come to the conclusion that the youth is out of control more than ever. But rational people know better than to jump to wild assumptions, but it’s always good to witness wise young people taking good care of themselves, adhering to principles my grandparents instilled in me: eat your vegetables, get enough sleep, and drink lots of water.
Now science is backing up what our ancestors have known for centuries, honoring one’s body with nutritious foods, alkaline water, and deep, long sleep in your youth pays dividends when one reaches middle age.
According to a new Northwestern Medicine study, maintaining a healthy lifestyle from young adulthood into your 40s is strongly associated with low cardiovascular disease risk in middle age.
“The problem is few adults can maintain ideal cardiovascular health factors as they age,” said Kiang Liu, first author of the study. “Many middle-aged adults develop unhealthy diets, gain weight and aren’t as physically active. Such lifestyles, of course, lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and elevated cardiovascular risk.”
Published Feb. 28 in the journal Circulation, this is the first study to show the association of a healthy lifestyle maintained throughout young adulthood and middle age with low cardiovascular disease risk in middle age.
The majority of people who maintained five healthy lifestyle factors from young adulthood (including a lean body mass index (BMI), no excess alcohol intake, no smoking, a healthy diet and regular physical activity) were able to remain in this low-risk category in their middle-aged years.
Sixty percent of those who maintained all five healthy lifestyles reached middle age with the low cardiovascular risk profile, compared with fewer than 5 percent who followed none of the healthy lifestyles.
Researchers used data collected over 20 years from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young) Adults (CARDIA) study. It began in 1985 and 1986 with several thousand 18 to 30 year-olds and has since followed the same group of participants.
For this study, the researchers analyzed data such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, BMI, alcohol intake, tobacco use, diet and exercise from more than 3,000 of the CARDIA participants to define a low cardiovascular disease risk profile and healthy lifestyle factors.
If the next generation of young people adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles, they will gain more than heart health, Liu stressed.
Source: Science Daily