Maintaining five healthy habits could not only make us live better and healthier but extend our life expectancy by ten years. For the first time, a team of researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health calculated it.
Follow a healthy diet, exercise daily, maintain adequate body weight, do not consume too much alcohol and do not smoke. These are the 5 keys to living for a long time. Things that we already knew, but now for the first time their presence or absence has been related to the duration of our lives.
It is in fact the first complete analysis of the impact of adopting factors based on a healthy lifestyle on life expectancy in the United States.
Americans have a shorter average life than almost all other high-income countries. Globally, the United States is in 43rd place, with an average of 80 years, according to data from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook 2017.
The three countries in first place for life expectancy at birth are Monaco, with 89.4 years, Japan, with 85.3 years and Singapore, with 85.2 years. Italy is in 15th place with 82.3 years.
The study aimed to quantify the impact of factors linked to a healthy lifestyle with a view to increasing longevity in the country. To do so, Harvard researchers examined 34 years of data from 78,865 women and 27 years of data from 44,354 men who participated in two studies.
The researchers looked at the five low-risk lifestyle factors that could impact mortality:
- Absence of cigarette smoke
- Low body mass index (18.5-24.9 kg / m2)
- At least 30 minutes or more per day of physical activity
- Moderate consumption of alcohol (up to about a glass of wine of 150 ml per day forWomen, or up to 2 glasses for men)
- Healthy diet.
They found that those who did not follow any of these habits had a lower life expectancy than those who followed them. In particular, life expectancy at the age of 50 was another 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men. Instead, those who had followed these five good habits presented a life expectancy of 43.1 years for women and 37.6 years for men after the age of 50.
In other words, women earned on average, 14 years of life and men 12 years, compared to peers who did not follow the same correct habits.
“This study underscores the importance of following healthy living habits to improve longevity in the US population,” said Frank Hu, president of the Harvard Chan School Nutrition Department and lead author of the study.
The research, even if applied to the American context, certainly offers interesting indications even outside the US borders.
There is no doubt that proper nutrition, accompanied by physical exercise, a correct weight, low consumption of alcohol and the absence of the cigarette is beneficial and promotes a healthier and longer life.
The research was published in Circulation.