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Harvard Study Reveals 5 Healthy Habits That Can Prolong Life By More Than A Decade

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A study conducted by researchers from Harvard University has revealed that people who stick to five healthy habits in adulthood may be able to extend their lifespan by over a decade.

5 Healthy Habits

Study researcher Meir Stampfer, from Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues looked at the medical records and lifestyle of 123,000 individuals to find out how much longer people could live if they adhere to five healthy practices.

Stampfer and colleagues identified the five healthy habits as having a body mass index of between 18.5 and 25, engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, not smoking, drinking up to only one 150ml glass of wine daily for women, and two for men; and a diet low in saturated fats, sugar and red meat but rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Effect On Longevity And Health

The researchers found out that adherence to the five lifestyle practices is linked to a dramatic effect on average life expectancy. At age 50, the men who adhered to these five healthy practices saw their life expectancy increase by 12.2. Among women, the five lifestyle factors were linked to 14 years of additional life expectancy.

"The projected life expectancy at age 50 years was on average 14.0 years (95% CI, 11.8-16.2) longer among female Americans with 5 lowrisk factors compared with those with zero low-risk factors; for men, the difference was 12.2 years (95% CI, 10.1-14.2)," the researchers reported in their study, which was published in the journal Circulation on Monday.

"Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy in US adults."

The researchers also found that each of the five lifestyle factors was linked to reduced odds of dying from the top two causes of death in the United States: cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Those who had healthy lived had 82 percent reduced odds of dying from heart disease and 65 percent reduced chances of dying from cancer compared with people with the least healthy lifestyles.

"The main take-home message is that there's huge gains in health and longevity to be had just by simple changes in our behavior pattern," Stampfer said.

Low Adherence To Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Despite the benefits of living a healthy life on longevity and overall health, researchers said that many people do not adhere to this kind of lifestyle.

"This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity in the U.S. population," said study author Frank Hu, from Harvard Chan School.

"Public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food, built, and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles."

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