Life Habits To Make You Live Longer

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This might seem startling for a country that spends more on health than any other - that is, until it becomes clear, suggest the new study authors, that most of the money goes on developing drugs and treating disease rather than preventing it. The difference from adopting none of the five to practicing all five was an additional 12 years of life for men and an extra 12 years for women.

A new study that came out today in the journal Circulation pinpoints five healthy habits that can prolong people's life expectancy by at least a decade.

Americans have a shorter average life expectancy - 79.3 years - than nearly all other high-income countries.

"This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population", commented senior author Frank Hu. The results of the study show that following these lifestyle habits is associated with a reduced risk of dying from the two largest killers in the US, which are cardiovascular disease and cancer.

He said it's important for people and policymakers to know the possible implications of lifestyle changes on life expectancy.

Study researcher Meir Stampfer, from Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues looked at the medical records and lifestyle of 123,000 individuals to find out how much longer people could live if they adhere to five healthy practices. We used data from the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys; 2013-2014) to estimate the distribution of the lifestyle score and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WONDER database to derive the agespecific death rates of Americans.

Compared to adults without any of these low-risk factors, the average 50-year old woman who follows all five could live about 14 years longer (to age 93).

The researchers also found that both women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer, when compared with those with had the least healthy lifestyles. The researchers suggest that without widespread obesity, this increase could have been much larger. Only 8% of the general population followed all five healthy habits.

Only eight percent of Americans are now following the healthy habits underlined in the study, research co-author Dr. Meir Stampfer, a professor of medicine at Harvard, told CNN.



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