WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Former smokers may additionally lower their risk for premature death by adhering to healthy lifestyle recommendations, according to a study published online Sept. 22 in JAMA Network Open.

Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., from the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the association between adherence to evidence-based lifestyle recommendations and mortality among former smokers. The analysis included 159,937 participants in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study of older U.S. adults (baseline 1995 to 1996, with follow-up through 2019).

The researchers found that a higher total adherence score was associated with lower all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], per unit increase, 0.95). Risk for all-cause mortality decreased with higher adherence scores: HR, 0.88 for scores of 3 to 4; HR, 0.80 for scores of 5 to 6; and HR, 0.73 for scores of 7 to 8, compared to the lowest total adherence scores (0 to 2). Findings were consistent regardless of health status, comorbid conditions, number of cigarettes participants used to smoke per day, years since cessation, and age at smoking initiation. A higher overall adherence score was also associated with a lower risk for mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease.

“Better adherence to evidence-based recommendations for body weight, diet, physical activity, and alcohol intake was associated with lower mortality from all causes and major causes of death, regardless of prior smoking patterns,” the authors write.

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