Medicine

Healthy Habits That Could Add More Than a Decade to Your Life

Healthy Habits That Could Add More Than a Decade to Your Life

Compared to adults without any of these low-risk factors, the average 50-year old woman who follows all five could live about 14 years longer (to age 93).

Each of the five habits contributed to life expectancy gains, with a combination of all five associated with the largest gains, say the researchers, whose findings were published on Monday in the medical journal Circulation.

Researchers also found that study participants who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer when compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles.

Hoping to extend your life expectancy?

Stampfer and colleagues identified the five healthy habits as having a body mass index of between 18.5 and 25, engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, not smoking, drinking up to only one 150ml glass of wine daily for women, and two for men; and a diet low in saturated fats, sugar and red meat but rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These data were combined with National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, as well as mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to estimate the impact of lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the US population. The results of the study show that following these lifestyle habits is associated with a reduced risk of dying from the two largest killers in the USA, which are cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the average American has a shorter life expectancy compared to other wealthy countries, such as Japan, Canada, and Norway.

Researchers studied 34 years of data from nearly 79,000 women and 27 years of data from about 44,000 men who participated in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

The results revealed that people who followed all five of the healthy habits described in the study were 74 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period than those who adhered to none of them. The new study aimed to quantify how much healthy lifestyle factors might be able to boost longevity in the U.S. Frank B. Hu, who chairs the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

"Public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles".


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