In a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers identified 4 factors tied to reduced disease risk: never smoking, having a body mass index (BMI) lower than 30, performing at least 3.5 hours per week of physical activity, and following a healthy diet.
Participants with all 4 factors had a 78% lower risk of developing a chronic disease (diabetes, myocardial infarction, stroke and cancer, 36%) than participants without a healthy factor.
The study showed that having all four factors prevented 75% of diabetes cases, 45% of myocardial infarction, 18% of stroke, and 19% of cancer cases.
Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) lower than 30 exerted the largest reduction in risk followed by never smoking, physical activity, and following a healthy diet. BMI was a particularly strong protective factor for incident diabetes.