If you’re still trying to decide what resolutions to adopt for 2020, or are in the process of renegotiating them with yourself, here’s some good news: Picking up four or five healthy habits could help you live years longer and free of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
That a healthy lifestyle can increase life expectancy and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes has been shown by many studies. What has been less clear is to what degree a healthy lifestyle might increase the number of years we live free of such chronic diseases.
To get a clearer picture of this relationship, researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health looked back over 34 years of information gathered from nearly 74,000 women and 28 years of information from about 38,000 men who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, respectively.
A healthy lifestyle was found to provide between eight to 10 more years of disease-free living.
Women who applied four or five of the healthy habits at age 50 went on to live 34 more years without being diagnosed with diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer compared to 24 years for women who followed none of the healthy habits. In other words, a healthy lifestyle provided 10 more years of disease-free living. For men, following four or five of the healthy habits gave them 31 years free of chronic diseases while those who practiced none lived about 23 years before being diagnosed with one of the chronic diseases.
Men who were currently heavy smokers and men and women who were obese had the lowest disease-free life expectancy.
So, there you have it. Pick a resolution or three:
The study is published in BMJ.