New research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, finds five lifestyle habits have been shown to increase life expectancy at age 50 by 12 to 14 years. The study begins with some sobering facts:
"Americans have a shorter life expectancy compared with residents of almost all other high-income countries. We aim to estimate the impact of lifestyle factors on premature mortality and life expectancy in the US population.the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the U.S."
Using data from several long term studies they concluded that:
Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy in US adults.
Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the following to determine how they affect longevity:
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regularly exercising
- Keeping a healthy body weight
- Moderate alcohol consumption
They determined that in the more than 30 years of follow-up, following all five lifestyle habits improved projected life expectancy at age 50 by 14.0 years for women and 12.2 years for men.
This important information is embodied in the knowledge we have from gleaned from Dan Buettner's Blue Zone's. Traveling the world to find the places where people had the healthiest longevity and engaging medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators among all places. They found 9.
For some us these may seem obvious and easily attainable. Sadly,
Frank Hu , chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”
Some of these all important cultural shifts have already been made fewer and fewer people smoke. It may take a lot longer for public policy changes to catch up.
In the meantime, let the the Power 9 and the 5 Habits be your guide to a healthier longer life.