According to a Harvard study, it is enough to introduce 5 healthy habits into our life to live longer and healthier
Five things, easy to count and remember. A little less to put into practice, but so be it: according to an international group of researchers led by scientists from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health introduce only 5 healthy habits in our life could prolong life expectancy 14 years for women and 12 years for men. The list is soon said:
- Follow a diet rich in vegetables and low in fat.
- Exercise at a moderate to vigorous level for several hours a week.
- Maintain the right body weight.
- Not smoking.
- Consume little alcohol.
5 things to do to live more: the Harvard studio –
The study published in 2020 in the British Medical Journal explains that a healthy lifestyle can help give us years of extra disease-free life. The findings suggest that women can extend their (disease-free) life expectancy after age 50 by about 10 and men by about 8, compared to people who don’t have these healthy habits. “It is important to consider disease-free life expectancy because this has important implications in terms of improving the quality of life and reducing overall healthcare costs,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and author of the study. “Extending the duration of life is not enough, we also want to extend the duration of health, therefore a longer life, healthier and free from the main chronic diseases”.
The 5 things to do to live more –
To arrive at these results, Harvard researchers looked at 34 years of data from 78,865 women and 27 years of data from 44,354 men to understand how widespread the 5 low-risk lifestyle factors were: do not smoke, maintain a low body mass index (18.5-24.9 kg / m 2), at least 30 minutes or more per day of moderate to strenuous physical activity, moderate alcohol intake (up to about one glass of wine per day for women, or up to two glasses for men) and a healthy diet – could have an impact on mortality. The researchers then attempted to correlate these scores to how long the participants lived without heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
The results of the study –
Result? Women who reported fulfilling four or five of the healthy habits lived an average of 34 more disease-free years after age 50 compared to 24 years of women who said they did not follow any of the healthy habits. Men who reported meeting four or five of their lifestyle habits lived an average of 31 more years without disease after age 50, while those who adopted none “only” 23 more years after age 50.
According to Professor Hu none of the five factors are more important than the others, but the number of disease-free years gained increased with each additional healthy habit people followed. “People shouldn’t be discouraged from adopting some if they find it difficult to follow one or two,” Hu says. And since all study participants were over 30, the findings also suggest that “it’s never too late to change,” Hu explained. “It’s always best to adopt healthy lifestyle habits as early as possible, but even adopting them relatively late in life will still have significant health benefits.”
02 May 2021 – 11:10
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