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Genetics vs. Lifestyle: What Defines Your Health?

“It’s genetic” is a phrase often heard when people are describing their health. But have you ever wondered how much a healthy lifestyle matters when it comes to your chances of getting heart disease if you were born with a higher genetic risk?

The truth is, it matters a lot. Although “bad genes” can double the risk of heart disease, a recent study of 55,000 people published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a healthy lifestyle can cut your genetic risk of heart disease in half.

The most important lifestyle factors that help lessen the genetic risk of heart disease include not smoking, getting moderate exercise each week, following a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, and maintaining a healthy weight.

So as you lace up your shoes for that next workout or sit down at your next healthy meal, think about the positive difference you are making to your risk of heart disease — and keep at it!