These five habits could add 10 years to your life

By June Shannon Heart News   |   4th May 2018

A new study has found that just five habits may add years to your life

04 May 2018

By June Shannon

Adopting just five healthy habits may add more than ten years to your life, a new study has suggested.

According to the research, which was published recently in an international medical journal, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and moderate alcohol consumption could add up to 14 years of life for women aged 50 and 12 years for men.

For the study researchers analysed data from two major studies on dietary, lifestyle and medical information on thousands of adults and compared this with mortality data to estimate the impact of lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the US population.

Specifically, they looked at how the following five behaviours affected a person’s longevity or life expectancy: not smoking, eating a healthy diet, regularly exercising (30+ minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity), keeping a healthy body weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m), and moderate alcohol consumption (5-15 g/day for women, 5-30 g/day for men).

Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and moderate alcohol consumption


Over the course of nearly 34 and 27 years of follow-up of women and men, respectively, a total of 42,167 deaths were recorded, of which 13,953 were due to cancer and another 10,689 were due to cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that following all five of the lifestyle behaviours significantly improved longevity for both men and women.

The study also revealed that by following the five healthy habits American women and men in this study were 82 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65 per cent less likely to die from cancer compared with people who didn’t follow any of the five habits.

According to Dr Frank B Hu lead author of the study and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston in the USA, “It is critical to put prevention first. Prevention, through diet and lifestyle modifications, has enormous benefits in terms of reducing occurrence of chronic diseases, improving life expectancy as shown in this study, and reducing healthcare costs.”

" The results should encourage us all to lead healthier lives"

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundation

Commenting on the findings Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation said, “this study shows the benefit of a healthy diet, regular exercise, keeping to a healthy weight, stopping smoking if you smoke, and cutting down on alcohol.”

“The benefits of these lifestyle changes have been shown in many studies and are reflected in this study which shows these measures can significantly prolong life expectancy. The results should encourage us all to lead healthier lives,” Dr Brown added.

This study was published recently in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.



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