This is an edited excerpt of a Los Angeles Times editorial, which was published Monday.
CARDIOVASCULAR disease has been the leading killer of Americans in every year but one in this century -- 1918, when a virulent influenza epidemic swept the world. But evidence grows that heart disease is to a large extent preventable or at least we are able to postpone its eventual onset by sticking to a prudent way of life.
This is evident from the Nurses Health Study, which has been tracking female health professionals since 1980.
In findings presented to a meeting of the American Heart Association in Atlanta last week, the Harvard School of Public Health reported that study participants who followed commonplace recommendations for good health -- don't smoke, get some physical activity every day, eat healthily, avoid saturated fat, avoid getting fat -- reduced their chances of developing heart disease by as much as 82 percent. The findings appear to be applicable to men as well.