According to this new work, a healthy lifestyle based on not smoking, not being overweight or exercising regularly during the 50-year-old stage would add up to 10 more years of life and could prevent us from suffering from important pathologies such as cancer , cardiovascular disease or diabetes . In fact, another recent study has already suggested that another healthy habit, such as doing strength and muscle-building exercises from the age of 30 , would also be an important protective factor against cardiovascular disease.In particular, recent research suggests that the most important lifestyle factors would be physical activity, a good body weight, a healthy and balanced diet, and avoiding toxins such as tobacco or alcohol. All these factors, taken together, would have important consequences not only for life expectancy in general, but also for quality of life and the absence of chronic diseases.
To reach these conclusions, researchers analyzed data from 73,196 nurses registered in the known Health Study Nurses United States , and other 38,366 health professionals, men of the Follow – up Study Health Professionals US . At the time of both studies, none of the volunteers suffered from cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes.
Regarding lifestyle factors, five of them were taken into account in particular: not smoking, having an adequate weight, doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, having a moderate consumption of alcohol, and following a diet healthy. Each lifestyle factor was worth one point, and could have between 0 and 5 points in total. The higher the score, the better the lifestyle, and the lower the risk of disease.
All participants were evaluated regularly over the course of 20 years , recording diagnoses and possible deaths from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
After evaluating other aspects such as age, ethnic origin, family medical history and other factors that could influence statistically, it was concluded that the disease-free life expectancy at 50 years for women was 24 years for those who did not adopt healthy habits. For their part, those women who did opt for four or five of these healthy lifestyle factors lived an average of 34 years longer. In total, up to 10 more years of difference.
For their part, the disease-free life expectancy at 50 years for men was 24 years for those who did not adopt healthy lifestyle habits, and up to 31 years more for those men who did adopt between four and five of these healthy lifestyle factors. In total, up to 7 more years of difference.
Likewise, it was discovered that the men who smoked 15 or more cigarettes a day and the subjects who had a body mass index of 30 or more, were those who had a lower total disease-free life expectancy compared to the rest of the individuals studied.
Although the data are encouraging, the researchers point out that it is an observational study , so a cause and effect relationship cannot be established. In addition, all the data come from self-reported surveys by the same participants, and in all cases they are data from health personnel , so there could be a significant bias in the general population.
In any case, the same researchers advocate promoting public health policies that improve both diet and the physical environment, which consequently lead to an improvement in lifestyle in general, and in physical activity and a balanced diet in particular, as well as policies and regulations on the consumption of toxic substances such as tobacco or alcohol, both known originating factors of a multitude of chronic diseases.