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180 risk factors whose validity has been verified – Heilpraxis



More clarity on health recommendations

the nutrition and the way of life are the biggest variables that affect our health. However, in many cases it is not at all clear whether a Food or a habit is healthy or unhealthy. Some recommendations are even contradictory. A comprehensive scoring system must now be used to more clarity worries.

researchers of Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation to University of Washington in Seattle (USA) have developed a comprehensive system that can be used to assess the strength of the bond between a risk factor and those associated with it Diseases is. The grading system was recently published in the renowned journal “natural medicine” present.

180 risk factors reviewed

The working group examined the validity of 180 common risk factorsthat result from certain lifestyles or dietary habits and rated the evidence for each risk pairing with a five-star system.

Five stars for strong evidence

Five stars represents a strong evidencethat is, a well-documented link between the risk factor and the development of associated diseases. A star represents a weak evidencein which the link between risk factor and disease should be better verified.

Countering conflicting recommendations

The meta-analysis aims, among other things, to bring more clarity to health recommendations. Because in some areas, different studies have come to different conclusions conflicting recommendations can be derived, depending on the study used as a basis.

In other areas, the evidence is clear, so that a recommendation in this area is well supported scientifically. Examples of well-documented risk pairs are five stars smoking and lung cancer such as hypertension and coronary artery disease.

“Links between different risks and health outcomes have been researched extensively, but results from individual studies often vary widely”explains the lead author of the study Dr Christopher Murray.

“One of the goals of this new star rating system is to provide more clarity and help consumers make informed decisions about diet, exercise and other activities that may affect their health at long term.”points out Dr. Murray

Weak evidence in many risk matches

One of the main findings of the research is that nearly two-thirds of all risk pairs studied (112 out of 180) tend to be based on weak evidence. These factors only received one or two stars in the rating.

An example is the link between red meat consumption and a raised stroke risk. The researchers only rated this relationship one star.

What do the stars say about the evidence?

A star means in the scoring system that possibly no real connection between the preventable risk factor and the associated disease.

Two stars mean that the behavior or condition increases the risk of disease with a probability of up to 15 percent changes. at Three stars is the probability of influencing the risk 15 to 50 percentat four stars at 50 to 85 percent and to five stars at more than 85 percent.

Example: smoking

Since the link between Smoking and the development of lung cancer received a five-star rating, according to the rating system, this means that smoking lung cancer risk with a Probability of more than 85% is increased.

However, this means Notthat more than 85% of all smokers develop lung cancer, but “only” smoking most likely increases their risk of lung cancer.

In the case of an asterisk, there may be no connection

Conversely, a one-star rating questions the link between the risk factor and the disease. The evidence here is so weak that there may be no connection.

Evidence-Based Health Recommendations

“Our analysis not only helps consumers, but can also help policy makers develop health and wellness education programs to focus on the risk factors with the greatest impact on health”summarizes the lead author of the study professor doctor Emmanuela Gakidou.

Additionally, other research groups can use this analysis as a basis for identifying areas where evidence is currently lacking.

The University of Washington task force plans to add more risk pairs to the system over the coming months and years. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • IHME: New star rating system published in Nature Medicine helps people make informed decisions about diet and healthy habits (Published: 10/10/2022),
  • IHME: Burden of Proof (retrieved: 11/10/2022),
  • Zheng P, Afshin A, Biryukov S et al. Burden of proof studies: assessing evidence of risk; in: Nature Medicine (2022),

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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