A healthy lifestyle can significantly increase life expectancy and reduce the risk of major diseases, according to a study published in the journal “Bmj”. The research suggests that women can extend their lives by up to ten years, while men can add seven years, by avoiding cancer, heart problems, and type 2 diabetes. The study emphasizes the importance of regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, following a balanced diet, and quitting smoking.
The Study’s Findings
The study, conducted in the United States and based on data from over 111,000 individuals followed for more than two decades, reveals promising results. The lead author of the study, Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, states that the findings deliver a positive message to the public: “You not only gain more years of life, but also good years, through better choices.”
At the age of 50, participants were asked if they met at least four out of five specified criteria to determine their adherence to a healthy lifestyle. These criteria included never smoking, following a balanced diet, engaging in 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity daily, maintaining a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9, and consuming a limited amount of alcohol.
The Impact on Women
Women who reported meeting four out of the five criteria lived an average of 34 years without cancer, cardiovascular disease, or type 2 diabetes. This is a significant difference of 10 years compared to women who did not meet these criteria. The study highlights that women can notably increase their lifespan and quality of life by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
The Impact on Men
For men, adhering to a healthy lifestyle allowed them to live an additional 31 years without major diseases, which is seven years longer than those who did not meet the criteria. These findings demonstrate the positive impact that adopting a healthy lifestyle can have on men's overall health and longevity.
The study reveals that the healthiest individuals in the research had never smoked. While women tend to have a longer life expectancy, both men and women benefit significantly from avoiding smoking. A healthy lifestyle not only reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes but also improves survival rates if any of these conditions are diagnosed.
The study provides compelling evidence that a healthy lifestyle has a profound impact on life expectancy and reduces the risk of major diseases. Through engaging in regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, following a balanced diet, and quitting smoking, individuals can extend their lives and enjoy a higher quality of life. These findings are a powerful motivation for individuals to make healthier choices and prioritize their overall well-being.