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8 habits linked to longer life span

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 9 months ago

A recent study conducted by Xuan-Mai Nguyen and her colleagues at the VA Boston Healthcare System found that adopting eight healthy habits by the age of 40 could extend life expectancy by more than two decades. The study, which analyzed data from over 700,000 US veterans between the ages of 40 and 99, looked at factors such as physical activity, diet, sleep, mental health, relationships, and alcohol use.

After adjusting for various factors, including age, socioeconomic status, and race, the researchers identified eight habits that were significantly correlated with a lower risk of dying from any cause. These habits included maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, having positive social relationships, managing stress, consuming alcohol in moderation, avoiding smoking, getting sufficient sleep, and not having an opioid use disorder.

Among these habits, physical activity had the most significant influence on longevity. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, was associated with a 46% lower risk of dying compared to a sedentary lifestyle. Other notable findings included a 38% reduced risk of death for those without a history of opioid use disorder and a 29% lower risk for non-smokers compared to current or former smokers.

The study also found that a healthy diet, stress management, moderate alcohol consumption, and adequate sleep were associated with a 20% decreased risk of death. Positive social relationships had the least influence, lowering the chance of death by only 5%.

Using this information, the researchers estimated the potential lifespan of individuals who adopted all eight habits by the age of 40. Men and women would live almost 24 and 23 years longer, respectively, compared to those who did not adopt any interventions. Even adopting these habits by the age of 60 could extend life by 18 years.

While these findings suggest that individuals have control over their future health, Jenny Jia of Northwestern University cautions that there can be barriers at the community, environmental, or policy level to adopting these lifestyle behaviors. For example, low-income neighborhoods may lack access to healthy food options, which are often more expensive and require more preparation time.

It is important to note that this study is observational, meaning it can only establish associations and not causation. Further research is needed to understand the precise mechanisms behind these associations.

Overall, this study highlights the potential impact of adopting healthy habits on longevity but also acknowledges the challenges individuals may face in doing so.

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