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Exercise Is as Effective as Drugs in Preventing Diabetes and Second Heart Attacks

Researchers at the London School of Economics, Harvard and Stanford analyzed data from 305 trials involving 339,274 people. They found that exercise is at least as effective as drugs in preventing diabetes, and second heart attacks, and is more effective in preventing death from strokes (British Medical Journal, published online October 2013). Drug treatments in these studies included statins and beta blockers to prevent heart attacks, and anticlotting and antiplatelet drugs to prevent strokes.Previously, Dean Ornish had shown that a low-fat, vegetarian diet, and exercise can reduce heart disease more than the drugs and standard medical care prescribed by North American physicians (J. Amer. Med. Assoc, 1998;280: 2001; Amer. J. Cardiol, 1998;82: 72T). This is incredibly sobering because most doctors prescribe drugs alone and do not add exercise or diet changes to each prescription. Far more studies have tested the effectiveness of drugs than the benefits of exercise.

The Results
Exercising regularly can:

  • reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50 percent,
  • lower risk of premature death by up to 30 percent,
  • control weight, and
  • improve sleep.

Seventeen Million Deaths a Year
The World Heath Organization states that heart attacks kill more than 17 million people a year and will kill more than 23 million per year by 2030. This frightening number could be lowered dramatically if people:

  • quit drinking excessive alcohol and smoking,
  • exercised more,
  • ate less red meat, fried and sugar-added foods and sugared drinks,
  • ate more fruits and vegetables, and
  • avoided overweight and vitamin D deficiency.

Checked 1/15/16

October 20th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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