People who do not smoke, are not overweight, and consume only moderate amounts of alcohol have a life expectancy seven years higher than the average. In addition, they can expect to spend most of those years in good health. This is the result of a new study by the German Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and the University of Michigan.
For the study, the data was evaluated by more than 14,000 US citizens. The data shows that people who have never smoked and have never been overweight live four to five years longer than the average of the population and that these people experience the extra years without physical disabilities. The analyzes also showed that people with moderate alcohol consumption are on average seven years older than the average of the population.
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Healthy lifestyle is realistic goal
"Improvements in medicine are often seen as the key to healthier and longer life. We have shown that a healthy lifestyle that does not cost anything is enough to enjoy a very long and healthy life, "said Mikko Myrskylä, one of the authors of the study and director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. He added: "A moderately healthy lifestyle is enough to enjoy it. Avoiding being overweight, not smoking, and consuming alcohol only moderately is not an unrealistic goal.
According to the press release of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, this study was the first to analyze the sum of the effects of several health-related behaviors on life expectancy and life expectancy without physical limitations. The researchers found that each of the three unhealthy behaviors studied - obesity, smoking, and non-moderate consumption of alcohol - was associated with a reduction in life expectancy and an earlier onset of physical impairment.
Differences in impact
But there were also differences. Concerning smoking, the researchers found that this would result in a previous death, but not increase the number of years in which those affected were physically impaired. This is different when it comes to being overweight: Those who are overweight must also expect to have to live with physical limitations for a longer period of their lives. Non-moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced lifespan and a reduced number of healthy years.
Most notable, however, was the difference in average life expectancy between the riskiest and the least risky group. Men who are not overweight, who have never smoked and who drink moderately live on average 11 years longer than men who live with this unhealthy behavior. For women, the difference between the two groups at age 12 was even greater.
"Our results show how important it is to focus on prevention," says the researcher. "Those who avoid these harmful behaviors can have a very long and healthy life. Effective public health policies could help more people get these health benefits.
As the study authors proceeded
The researchers used data from a long-term study in the United States, the so-called Health and Retirement Study, in which more than 14,000 individuals aged 50 to 89 participated in the period from 1998 to 2012. The participants were asked about their health and behavior every two years.
Those who reported that they had no restrictions on daily activities (running, dressing, bathing, getting out of bed, or eating) were considered to be free of physical disability.
Participants who had a body mass index of less than 30 were considered non-overweight.
Those who had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime were considered non-smokers.
Men who consumed less than 14 alcoholic drinks per week and women who consumed less than seven alcoholic beverages during the same period were considered moderate drinkers.
Tips for a healthy lifestyle
We all want to stay fit and healthy for as long as possible. A healthy lifestyle can create the conditions for a long and healthy life. The following 8 tips help to establish a healthy lifestyle.
Drink enough: A healthy lifestyle is hardly possible without the adequate supply of water. It should be at least 1.5 liters of water per day. The human body is two-thirds water. The substance serves as a means of transport for urine and blood and as a solvent. A fluid deficit harms the entire body.
Balanced nutrition: A healthy lifestyle without a balanced, nutritious diet is hardly possible. Experts recommend the Mediterranean diet, which consists of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil and little meat and fish. The Mediterranean diet has protective effects on the cardiovascular system and can also prevent diabetes.
More exercise in everyday life:
sitting a long time increases the risk of many illnesses. Some experts even believe that sitting is the new way to smoke. Anyone who has to work long, for example, should install small movement units every 45 minutes. Multi-seaters should also be careful to change their seating position regularly. In the spare time a compensation for the many seats must take place. It does not have to be equal to strength training or endurance run. Even several walks a week are enough to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart attack or diabetes.
Less stress through relaxation:
Autogenic training, meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation according to Jacobsen are among the tips to reduce stress. Stress is responsible for a variety of diseases. The stress-related illnesses include hypertension, gastric ulcers, back pain and asthma. A healthy lifestyle should always be accompanied by relaxation exercises.
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes: It is no secret that neither alcohol nor cigarettes are healthy. Statistically, men who smoke more than ten cigarettes a day live about 9.4 years shorter. Even those who consume a lot of alcohol reduce the chances of old age with their lifestyle. More than four alcoholic drinks per day reduce the life expectancy of men by almost three years.
Lots of fresh air and plenty of light:
Sufficient light is not only important for the mood, the sun hormone vitamin D can only be formed under sunlight. Vitamin D performs many important tasks in the body. Exercise in the fresh air also mobilizes defenses and reduces the susceptibility to infections
Maintain healthy relationships: Every person is part of a network of relationships. Successful interpersonal relationships are an important factor for physical and mental health.