Habits Add 14 Years for Women, 12 for Men

Habits Add 14 Years for Women, 12 for Men

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.

A new study by Harvard researchers suggests that five lifestyle habits may be key to extending life expectancy by more than 10 years.

Each individual component of a healthy lifestyle showed a significant association with risk of total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular mortality - each factor added approximately 2.5 years of life expectancy.

Bringing all the results together, the researchers produced nationally representative estimates of longer life expectancy linked to each low-risk lifestyle factor, and to all of them combined.

To what extent could a focus on prevention help to raise life expectancy in the US, which finds itself averaging 79.3 years, compared with Japan's 83.7?

Researchers from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health have found that people who adopted all these five lifestyle habits were 74 per cent less likely to die prematurely compared with those who did not adopt any of the five. For instance, it only takes 30 minutes of brisk walking a day to meet the moderate exercise demand and reap the longevity benefits associated with regular exercise.

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In an effort to quantify the effects of disease prevention, researchers assessed data from two major ongoing cohort studies, including dietary, lifestyle, and medical information from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Those who followed these lifestyle habits were 82 percent likely to have died from cardiovascular disease and 65 percent less likely to die from cancer within the study's follow-up period.

The study found that life expectancy at age 50 for participants who had not adopted any of the five healthy habits was 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men.

Researchers studied 34 years of data from nearly 79,000 women and 27 years of data from about 44,000 men who participated in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 76.9 and 81.6 years old for United States men and women respectively.

Life expectancy at the time of birth in the US rose from 63 years in 1940 to 79 years in 2014. What are these five healthy habits?

Given that the habits of a healthy lifestyle are well known, the mystery is why we are so bad at adopting them, said Stampfer.

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