Background Adherence to a combination of healthy dietary and lifestyle practices may have an impressive impact on the primary prevention of myocardial infarction (MI).
Methods The population of Swedish men comprised 45- to 79-year-old men who completed a detailed questionnaire on diet and lifestyle at baseline in 1997. In total, 20,721 men with no history of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol levels were followed through 2009. Low-risk behavior included 5 factors:
1. healthy diet (top quintile of Recommended Food Score)
2. moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day)
3. no smoking
4. being physically active (walking/bicycling ≥40 min/day and exercising ≥1 h/week)
5. no abdominal adiposity (waist circumference < 37 inches).
Results During 11 years of follow-up, we ascertained 1,361 incident cases of MI. The low-risk dietary choice together with moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a relative risk of 0.65 compared with men having 0 of 5 low-risk factors. Men having all 5 low-risk factors compared with those with 0 low-risk factors had a relative risk of 0.14. This combination of healthy behaviors, present in 1% of the men, could prevent 79% (95% CI: 34% to 93%) of the MI events on the basis of the study population.
Conclusions Almost 4 of 5 MIs in men may be preventable with a combined low-risk behavior.