5 healthy habits that could help you live a decade longer, study suggests

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Juicy red apple on the white plate with vintage wooden table background

Do you want to prolong your life expectancy by more than a decade? A new study suggests that you can do just that by following these five healthy habits.The habits are:

  • Never smoke
  • Maintain a healthy body-mass index
  • Keep up moderate to vigorous exercise
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol, and
  • Eat a healthy diet.

Adhering to those five lifestyle factors at age 50, compared with not adhering to any of them, was associated with 14 additional years of life expectancy among women and 12.2 additional years among men in the study, published in the journal named Circulation.

Each of those factors is significantly associated with a reduced risk of dying from the top two killers in the United States, cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to the study.

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the US each year, which is about one in every four deaths, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 600000 Americans are expected to die of cancer every year according to the American Cancer Society.

Globally, the US ranks 43rd when it comes to life expectancy at birth, with an average life expectancy of 80, according to 2017 data from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

The highest and the lowerest life expectancy countries

 The three countries ranked highest for life expectancy at birth are Monaco, with 89.4 years; Japan, with 85.3 years; and Singapore, with 85.2 years, according to those data.

The countries with the lowest life expectancy at birth, based on that data, are Chad , with 50.6 years; Guinea-Bissau, with 51 years; and Afghanistan, with 51.7 years.

Among the women, on average, about 30.8% of the life expectancy at age 50 that they gained from adopting five, versus zero, of those lifestyle factors was attributed to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease death; 21.2% was attributed to a reduced risk of cancer and 48% to other causes of death.

Among the men, those percentages were 34.1% attributed to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease death, 22.8% attributed to a reduced risk of cancer and 43.1% to other causes.

Is the study accurate?

The study had some limitations, including that the data on adherence to the five lifestyle factors were all self-reported, making outcome vulnerable to measurement errors. Also, the data analysis did not include measures of certain health conditions that are risk factors for a shorter life expectancy, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Body-mass index, a calculation derived from a person’s weight and height, is used as a screening tool for body fatness. A normal or healthy body-mass index is  typically said to be between 18.5 and 24.9.

As for some of the other lifestyle factors, “getting weight below a BMI of 30 appears to help considerably, according to the study. A higher body weight is linked to increased risk of diabetes and cancer, among other obesity-related conditions. The study suggests physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day of moderate or vigorous activities, including brisk walking.

Obviously, it’s much better to do these healthy behaviors from childhood, really, but if you’re beyond age 50, beyond age 60, beyond age 70, it’s not too late.

Ref: CNN/Photo:News nation

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