- Diet: What you put into your body
- Exercise: What you do, or don’t do, when it comes to physical activity
- Genetics: Your family history
Your genetic background – your family tree and racial/geographic roots – can influence your risk of heart disease. But two recent studies from Northwestern Medicine suggest that a healthy lifestyle of good diet and exercise is far more influential in reducing your risk of heart disease:
- A 2010 study showed that cardiovascular health in middle age and beyond is less a gift from your genes and more earned by a healthy lifestyle.
- A second study showed that only a small percent of cardiovascular health is passed from parent to child; the bulk of negative or positive cardiovascular health resulted from lifestyle behaviors.