Can simple lifestyle changes add years to your life and improve the quality of your health as you age? This study says yes!
This recently completed studies results emphasize the impact of just four combined behavioral changes, simple choices that can affect your longevity. These results may provide further support for the idea that even small differences in lifestyle may make a big difference to health and encourage behavior change.
A report published online on January 8, 2008 in Public Library of Science Medicine concluded that individuals who adopt just four healthy behaviors live an average of fourteen years longer than those who don’t.
For the current study the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England examined data from 20,244 participants
The study enrolled men and women between the ages of 45 and 79 who were free of cancer or cardiovascular disease between 1993 and 1997. Questionnaires completed by the participants awarded one point each for not smoking, being physically active, consuming alcohol in moderation (defined as 1 to 14 units per week), and having a plasma vitamin C level consistent with eating five servings of vegetables or fruit per day. The subjects were followed until 2006, during which time any deaths were recorded.
It was determined that those who scored no points on the questionnaires were four times as likely to die over the follow-up period than those who scored 4 points, and those with a score of 2 were twice as likely to have died. The research team found that participants whose score was 0 had the same risk of dying as subjects who were 14 years older who had practiced all four healthy behaviors. Adjustment of the results for body mass index and age failed to modify the finding.
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