Following the American Heart Association‘s Life’s Simple 7 steps to reduce your risk for heart disease can also help prevent cancer, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

“We were gratified to know adherence to the Life’s Simple 7 goals was also associated with reduced incidence of cancer,” said Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, and lead author of the study.

“This can help health professionals provide a clear, consistent message about the most important things people can do to protect their health and lower their overall risk for chronic diseases,” Rasmussen-Torvik added.

Adhering to six or seven of the factors reduced the risk of cancer by 51 percent, compared with participants who met none of the factors. Meeting four factors led to a 33 percent risk reduction and one or two 21 percent.

Life’s Simple 7 is part of the association’s My Life Check campaign that advises Americans to adhere to seven factors for a healthy heart:

1. Being physically active

2. Keeping a healthy weight

3. Eating a healthy diet

4. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels

5. Keeping blood pressure down

6. Regulating blood sugar levels

7. Not smoking

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