Analysing the habits of over 14 000 people helped researchers identify a few ways to add at least seven good years to your life

Refraining from risky health behaviours could help you live even longer than the famously long-lived Japanese.

People who do not smoke, are not obese, and consume alcohol moderately can expect to live seven years longer than the general population. These extra years are also spent in good health.

This is according to a new study, published in Health Affairs.

Key findings

  • Smoking was associated with an early death
  • Obesity was associated with a long period of time with disability
  • Excessive alcohol consumption associated with both a decreased lifespan and a reduced number of healthy years

The absence of all of these risky health behaviours was found to be associated with the greatest number of healthy years:

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  • Never-smokers who were not obese lived four to five years longer than the general population, and that these extra years were free of disability.
  • Individuals who consumed alcohol moderately lived seven more disability-free years than the general population.

Women who were not overweight, had never smoked, and drank moderately were found to live an average of 12 years longer than women who were overweight, had smoked, and drank excessively.

The gender gap

Men who were not overweight, had never smoked, and drank moderately were found to live an average of 11 years longer than men who were overweight, had smoked, and drank excessively.

For women, the gap between these two groups was found to be even greater, at 12 years.

A moderately healthy lifestyle is enough

“Improvements in medical technology are often thought to be the gatekeeper to healthier, longer life. We showed that a healthy lifestyle, which costs nothing, is enough to enable individuals to enjoy a very long and healthy life,” says one of the researchers, Mikko Myrskylä, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.

“A moderately healthy lifestyle is enough to get the benefits. Avoiding becoming obese, not smoking, and consuming alcohol moderately is not an unrealistic goal.”

Source: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft via www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.