5 Habits to the Fountain of Youth? Well, not exactly.
The five healthy lifestyle factors identified in a new study published in the journal Circulation will surprise no one.
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Exercising at least 30 minutes a day
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Drinking in moderation
But just how much is the pay-off? Women who followed all 5 factors lived approximately 14 years longer than women who followed none of them. For men, the difference was about 12 years. The largest benefits, of course, come from adhering to all five factors. However, following any one of them was associated with extra years of life. The more factors followed, the longer people lived.
So how were benefits proven? Researchers analyzed data on 78,865 women who enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study in 1976 and 44, 345 men who joined the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study in 1980. By 2014, 42,167 of these men and women died:
- Including 10,689 of cardiovascular disease
- And 13,953 who succumbed to cancer
Risk of death was not evenly distributed among the study participants. Researchers accounted for factors such as age, ethnicity, vitamin use and family history of certain diseases. When they then saw was a strong correlation between the lifestyles choices people made and their chances of being alive in 2014. Here are statistics:
- Men and women who adhered to all five lifestyle factors were 74 percent less likely to die than their counterparts who followed none of the factors
- Men and women who adhered to all five lifestyle factors were 65 percent less likely to die of cancer and 82 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease
- At age 50, women with the healthiest lifestyles could expect to live until age 93, 14 years longer than women who had the least healthy lifestyles
- At age 50, men with the healthiest lifestyles could expect to live until age 87, 12 years longer than their least healthy counterparts
Unfortunately, only 8 percent of American adults met all five criteria for a healthy life as of 2006. The biggest obstacle?
Being overweight or obese.
- About half of the premature cancer deaths could be blamed on a failure to maintain a healthy life-style
- Nearly three-quarters of the premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease could also be blamed on a failure to maintain a healthy life-style
The final conclusion? Preventive care should be a top priority.
Are you in on this plan or prefer to gamble with your health?
What are you thinking?
Source: Star-Ledger, May 2018, Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times