A Healthy Lifestyle Index Is Associated With Reduced Risk of Colorectal Adenomatous Polyps Among Non-Users of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs


In a Columbia, South Carolina-based case–control study, we developed a healthy lifestyle index from five modifiable lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, diet, and body mass index), and examined the association between this lifestyle index and the risk of colorectal adenomatous polyps (adenoma). Participants were recruited from a local endoscopy center and completed questionnaires related to lifestyle behaviors prior to colonoscopy. We scored responses on each of five lifestyle factors as unhealthy (0 point) or healthy (1 point) based on current evidence and recommendations. We added the five scores to produce a combined lifestyle index for each participant ranging from 0 (least healthy) to 5 (healthiest), which was dichotomized into unhealthy (0–2) and healthy (3–5) lifestyle scores. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for adenoma with adjustment for multiple covariates. We identified 47 adenoma cases and 91 controls. In the main analyses, there was a statistically nonsignificant inverse association between the dichotomous (OR 0.54; 95 % CI 0.22, 1.29) and continuous (OR 0.75; 95 % CI 0.51, 1.10) lifestyle index and adenoma. Odds of adenoma were significantly modified by the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (pinteraction = 0.04). For participants who reported no use of NSAIDs, those in the healthy lifestyle category had a 72 % lower odds of adenoma as compared to those in the unhealthy category (OR 0.28; 95 % CI 0.08, 0.98), whereas a one-unit increase in the index significantly reduced odds of adenoma by 53 % (OR 0.47; 95 % CI 0.26, 0.88). Although these findings should be interpreted cautiously given our small sample size, our results suggest that higher scores from this index are associated with reduced odds of adenomas, especially in non-users of NSAIDs. Lifestyle interventions are required to test this approach as a strategy to prevent colorectal adenomatous polyps.

Publication Title

Journal of Primary Prevention