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Habits Add 14 Years for Women, 12 for Men

01 May 2018
Habits Add 14 Years for Women, 12 for Men

The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact that adopting low-risk lifestyle factors has on life expectancy in the U.S. It will be published online today in Circulation.

According to government statistics, 50-year-old Americans have a life expectancy of another 30 to 33 years, CBS News reports.

In other words, women gained an average life expectancy of 14 years, and men gained 12 years.

The study analyzes five factors that could affect a person's life expectancy. In 2015, the United States ranked 31st in the world for life expectancy.

"This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the USA population", said Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study.

Similarly, moderate drinking translates into a one-drink per day limit for women and a daily alcohol intake of maximum two drinks for men. 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.

So, women who stuck to all five low-risk health habits lived an average of 14 years longer than women who followed none of them, and for men, this gain was 12 years.

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

In addition, a diet was considered healthy if it managed to score in the top 40 percent of the Healthy Eating Index, which assesses people's diet based on the consumption of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, fish, poultry, and healthy-fat sources, such as olive oil and nuts.

The researchers combined data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study - ongoing studies of dietary, lifestyle, and medical data in thousands of US adults - with data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and mortality info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Results-During up to 34 years of follow-up, we documented 42 167 deaths.

A study conducted by researchers from Harvard University has revealed that people who stick to five healthy habits in adulthood may be able to extend their lifespan by over a decade. Researchers also found that study participants 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 the least healthy lifestyles.