Five factors of healthy lifestyle can cut stroke risk in half for women

Women who maintain a healthy lifestyle are about half as likely to have a stroke than their peers, according to a study published in Neurology.

Researchers looked at the five factors that make up a healthy lifestyle: a healthy diet, physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption, never smoking and having a healthy body mass index.

When women who had none of these factors were compared with women who had all five factors, the latter group had a 54-percent lower risk of stroke.

Of the 31,696 women who participated in the study, most had two or three of the healthy factors. Only 589 women had all five, while 1,535 had none of the factors.

Prevention is of 'great importance'

The good news, said study author Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, is that there are clear lifestyle changes women can make to significantly reduce risk of stroke.

"Because the consequences of stroke are usually devastating and irreversible, prevention is of great importance," Dr. Larsson said.

For the study, a healthy diet included fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Moderate alcohol consumption was defined as having three to nine drinks per week, and physical activity was defined as getting at least 40 minutes a day of moderate cardio - with an additional hour of more vigorous exercise at least once a week.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

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