Healthy habits add up to 10 disease-free years to your life, study reveals
Jan 9, 2020
National Health Service, UK – More people are living longer. The downside is that more people are living with diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Yet many of these diseases are linked to lifestyle-related risk factors like poor diet, being overweight and smoking.
A study of more than 110,000 people assessed 5 healthy habits, and estimated how much longer people with these habits live, and also how many of those extra years are likely to be disease-free.
The study found that women who adopted 4 or 5 of the habits were likely to live an extra 10 years without cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), cancer or type 2 diabetes compared with women adopting none.
The corresponding figure for men was 7 years.
The markers of a healthy lifestyle used by the researchers were:
- not smoking
- having a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9
- doing 30 minutes moderate to vigorous exercise a day
- drinking alcohol only in moderation (defined in this study as just under 2 units for women and 4 units for men daily) Alcohol Less Harmful For People Over 50?
- having a healthy diet score in the top 40% of people in the study
While the way the study was run cannot prove the healthy lifestyle directly caused the additional years of healthy life, it adds considerable weight to existing evidence that has already shown these lifestyle habits reduce the chance of disease. Find out more about leading a healthy lifestyle.
The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health. It was published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal on an open access basis, so is free to read online. Read more.