We all know that smoking is bad for us, that exercise is good for us, and that we should eat vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious foods. All of this advice is even more true for people who have had serious health scares due to heart disease or stroke.
And yet, 14% of people who have had a heart attack, stroke, heart surgery or serious chest pain continue to ignore these common sense recommendations, according to new research in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. Only 4% of the 7,519 people included in the study had adopted all three of these ideal behaviors, the study found.
An international team of researchers looked at data on thousands of people around the world who had suffered heart attacks, strokes or had other coronary heart issues four to five years earlier. Overall, they found that 43% had made one positive change in their lifestyle habits and 31% had two.
(The categories don’t add up to 100% because the figures were calculated separately and each one takes into account other factors to make sure the results were statistically significant, said study leader Dr. Koon Teo, a clinician and researcher at Canada’s McMaster University.)