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Lifestyle Choices Affects The Long-Term Heart Health Of Childhood Cancer Survivors

Update Date: Jul 28, 2014 12:52 PM EDT

Following a healthy lifestyle may lower childhood cancer survivors' risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, a new study has found. 

The study suggested that children with cancer and adults who had cancer when they were children should receive information about how their lifestyle may influence their long-term health. 

Adults who had cancer as children are known to be at increased risk for the metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increases the likelihood of developing heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke, the study said. 

People with metabolic syndrome have some combination of factors such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and glucose levels. 

The study considered around 1600 childhood cancer survivors. Based on questionnaires and tests, researchers concluded that metabolic syndrome was present in 31.8 percent of the participants while 27 percent of them followed healthy lifestyle guidelines. 

"These findings are important because they indicate that adults who were treated for cancer as children have the opportunity to influence their own health outcomes," Kirsten Ness, PT, PhD, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis said in the press release.

"Cancer survivors should not smoke. In addition, adopting a lifestyle that includes maintaining a healthy body weight, regular physical activity, and a diet that includes fruits and vegetables and that limits refined sugars, excessive alcohol, red meat, and salt has potential to prevent development of the metabolic syndrome."

The study has been published early online in CANCER.

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