At a Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health forum on diet and health, Walter Willett, chair of the school's nutrition department, said that adoption of more healthful eating habits even late in life still has benefits.
Let’s say your diet has been not so great. Maybe too much red meat, especially processed meat. Maybe too many sugary soft drinks. And maybe you’ve been eating like that for decades. So what’s the point of trying to make some healthful changes now, after the damage has presumably been done?
“It is impressive that changes even very late in life, such as even being older and having a heart attack, a dietary change can within a matter of a few months drop our risk greatly of a recurrent heart attack or death.”
Walter Willett. He chairs the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He spoke at a January 15th forum on Cancer and Diet that wound up touching on diet and health in general.
“So it’s never too late to make important changes. For diabetes also, if we change our diet almost immediately our risk of diabetes goes down. But that’s not to say you just should just wait `til you’re old to start living a healthy life. We’re seeing in some studies now that what women ate as adolescents, especially if they ate a lot more red meat, that affected breast cancer risk later in their life. So it’s definitely important if you want the healthiest overall life is to start a healthy lifestyle early. But if you’ve sort of ignored things it’s never too late to still get some benefit.”
The entire hour-long forum featuring Willett and other researchers discussing diet and health is archived on line. Just google “Harvard public health forum”.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]