Is lifestyle the key to prevent cancer?

Chennai: A new research has found that the primary requirement for the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is a healthy lifestyle.

Scientists from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania, said, “Management of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases requires many strategies from several perspectives and on different levels”.

The effects of the global pandemic on the development of NCDs can be devastating as people during lockdown and self-isolation tend to eat more and exercise less.

According to researchers, the main factors of illnesses are medications, blood pressure, lipids, glucose, viruses, obesity, stress. Various dietary factors, such as eating meat, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, and iron-based diets or, on the other hand, using whole grain, natural, high-fibre products have been linked to the development of NCDs.

NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, are medical conditions that are associated with long duration and slow progress. Most NCDs are non-infectious and are the result of several factors, including genetic, physiological, behavioural, and environmental.

Although lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, nutrition habits, tobacco and alcohol consumption have been linked to the development of certain medical conditions for a long time, with this study the researchers attempt to draw the attention of policy-makers and medical professionals towards the complex nature of the problem and its possible solutions.

“It is important to combine modern scientific achievements and innovative decisions, concerning the rationality of nutrition and positive effects on human health. Governments and international organisations should make people aware of their health and their environment to make the world a safe and healthy place,” states Dr Rimantas Kodzius, head of the research group behind the study, Professor at Panevezys Faculty of Technology and Business, Kaunas Technology University (KTU).

According to various data, there are modifiable (i.e. high blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, obesity) and non-modifiable (such as age, gender, genetic factors) risk factors that contribute to the development of NCD’s. However, although one cannot change their age or gender, there are modifying factors in the cultural or social environment of every person. Therefore, risk factor management is essential in preventing NCDs’, researchers claim.

Dr Aida Budreviciute, the first author of the study, said, “In the past, infectious and parasitic diseases were the main causes of death, but in recent decades, NCDs have replaced them. Moreover, with the spreading of western lifestyle in low and middle-income countries, due to global population ageing and commercial pressures for unhealthy diets, non-commutable diseases are becoming prevalent across all economic contexts”.


NT Bureau