Want to live a longer and healthier life? It’s easy, and it’s all the stuff you already know: eat more fruit, lead an active life, keep alcohol intake to a minimum and don’t smoke. Following these precepts could add 10 years to your life, reckon Swiss researchers.
On the negative side, someone who leads an unhealthy life – drinking too much, smoking, not exercising and having a poor diet – is two-and-a-half times more likely to die over the next decade once they reach the age of 75 compared to someone of a similar age who has followed all the healthy guidelines. The healthy 75 year old is 67 per cent more likely to be still living 10 years later, but the unhealthy person has just a 35 per cent chance.
An unhealthy life seems to catch up with you only when you reach the age of 75 or so. Mortality levels in people aged up to 75 were similar, whether or not they followed a healthy lifestyle, say researchers from the University of Zurich.
The single most unhealthy lifestyle choice is smoking, say the researchers. Smokers are 57 per cent more likely to die prematurely than non-smokers, while inactivity, an unhealthy diet and alcohol abuse each raises the risk by 15 per cent.
The findings are based on the analysis of 16,721 men and women between 1977 and 1993 and their deaths by 2008.
Source: Preventive Medicine, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.05.023
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