Healthy Lifestyle and Leukocyte Telomere Length in U.S. Women
Franks, Paul W.
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CitationSun, Qi, Ling Shi, Jennifer Prescott, Stephanie E. Chiuve, Frank B. Hu, Immaculata De Vivo, Meir J. Stampfer, Paul W. Franks, JoAnn E. Manson, and Kathryn M. Rexrode. 2012. Healthy lifestyle and leukocyte telomere length in U.S. women. PLoS ONE 7(5): e38374.
AbstractContext: Whether a healthy lifestyle may be associated with longer telomere length is largely unknown. Objectives: To examine healthy lifestyle practices, which are primary prevention measures against major age-related chronic diseases, in relation to leukocyte telomere length. Design and Setting Cross-sectional analysis in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS). Participants: The population consisted of 5,862 women who participated in multiple prospective case-control studies within the NHS cohort. Z scores of leukocyte telomere length were derived within each case-control study. Based on prior work, we defined low-risk or healthy categories for five major modifiable factors assessed in 1988 or 1990: non-current smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight (body mass index in 18.5–24.9 kg/m\(^2\)), engaging in regular moderate or vigorous physical activities (\(\geq\)150 minutes/week), drinking alcohol in moderation (1 drink/week to <2 drinks/day), and eating a healthy diet (Alternate Healthy Eating Index score in top 50%). We calculated difference (%) of the z scores contrasting low-risk groups with reference groups to evaluate the association of interest. Results: Although none of the individual low-risk factors was significantly associated with larger leukocyte telomere length z scores, we observed a significant, positive relationship between the number of low-risk factors and the z scores. In comparison with women who had zero low-risk factors (1.9% of the total population) and were, therefore, considered the least healthy group, the leukocyte telomere length z scores were 16.4%, 22.1%, 28.7%, 22.6%, and 31.2% (P for trend = 0.015) higher for women who had 1 to 5 low-risk factors, respectively. Conclusions: Adherence to a healthy lifestyle, defined by major modifiable risk factors, was associated with longer telomere length in leukocytes.
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