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New Study: Five Habits Add More than a Decade to your Life

Study just concluded a lifetime of habits like healthy eating and not smoking can extend your lifespan dramatically!

According to a major study in the Circulation Journal into how behavior can impact lifespan, incorporating five healthy habits as an adult can add more than ten years to peoples’ lives. Basically, the new study concluding five habits add more than a decade to your life!

Researchers at Harvard University used lifestyle questionnaires and medical records from 123,000 volunteers to understand how much longer people lived if they followed

The five healthy behaviors researchers at Harvard University developed studied were eating a healthy diet, controlling body weight, having consistent regular exercise, keeping alcohol consumption moderated and removing cigarette smoking.

Researchers used medical records of 123,000 volunteers and lifestyle questionnaire results to calculated average life expectancy.  It was through calculated results, that a dramatic increase from a lifetime of healthy habits was shown.

Researchers compared people who practiced none of the study’s behaviors with men and women who observed all five habits and saw life expectancy at 50 years old rise from 26 to 38 years for men and 29 to 43 years for women or extend the lifespan 12 years for men and 14 years for women.

The US ranks just 31st in the world for life expectancy at birth.

“When we embarked on this study, I thought, of course, that people who adopted these habits would live longer. But the surprising thing was how huge the effect was,” said a co-author on the study named Meir Stampfer, also professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 76.9 and 81.6 years old for US men and women respectively. The equivalent figures for Britain are very similar at 79.4 and 83 years old. The scientists did in the hopes of learning why the US, which spends more money on healthcare as a share of the US GDP than any other country and ranks very low just 31st in the world for life expectancy at birth.

Only 8% of the general population followed all five healthy habits.

Published in the journal Circulation, the study reveals what’s commonly known that poor lifestyle is a major factor that cuts American lives short. Only 8% of the general population followed all five healthy habits. The research focused on the US population, but Stampfer said the findings applied to the UK and much of the western world.

The five healthy habits were defined as having a body mass index between 18.5 and 25; not smoking; at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, having no more than one 5 oz glass of wine a day for women, or two for men; and eating a diet which the majority containing fruit, vegetables and whole grains and low in red meat, saturated fats and sugar.

Extra glass of wine a day ‘will shorten your life by 30 minutes’

Over the roughly 30 years of the study, show men and women who adhered to the five habits were 82% less likely to die of heart disease and 65% less likely to die of cancer compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles.

“Given that the habits of a healthy lifestyle are well known, the mystery is why we are so bad at adopting them,” said Stampfer. “Part of the problem is that many people struggle to give up smoking, and the continuous peddling of unhealthy food, as well as poor urban planning, which can make it hard for people to exercise, also feed in.” he said.

“I do think people need to step up and take some personal responsibility, but as a society we need to make it easier for people to do that,” he said. “People can get stuck in a rut and think it’s too late to change their ways, but what we find is that when people do change their ways, we see remarkable benefits.”
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