Living longer and living better

During one of Dr Stephen Boyd’s recent lectures he touched on research that identifies 4 steps to increase life expectancy by 14 years!

Dr Boyd MD, BS, PhD, FRSM is Senior Director of Medical Affairs for Mannatech Inc. and a seriously funny man.

We need to create and preserve good health not just because it makes sense for ourselves; it also is an economic and political reality.

Sadly, for most of us, we do not follow the advice that we given – even when we implicitly acknowledge its value:

“I really need to do something about my weight.”

“Poor Bill, in hospital, we need to take him some fruit”

“Kids, eat your vegetables or there is no ice cream”

“My back is giving me trouble, I need to get some exercise”

But there is good news which might give some people a confident basis for becoming part of the solution – rather than part of the problem.

In a study published in 2008 Professor Kay-Tee Khaw from Cambridge University and her team studied the lifestyle habits of 20,244 men and women aged between 45 and 79 years with no known cardiovascular
disease or cancer between 1993 and 1997.

They were given one point for each of four healthy behaviours:

  1. Not smoking
  2. Being active
  3. Sticking to acceptable alcohol intakes (up to 14 units of alcohol per week – sounds very agreeable)
  4. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.

They were then followed up around 11 years later.

Living longer & betterThose who scored zero points due to smoking, being inactive, drinking too much and having poor intakes of fruit and vegetables, were four times more likely to have died during the study than those who scored four points for fulfilling all the healthy lifestyle factors.

Those who scored two points – in other words they had two unhealthy lifestyle habits but two healthy ones – were twice as likely to have died.

The scientists then worked out that a person who scored zero had the same risk of dying as someone with a score of four who was 14 years older.

As a result, they conclude that ditching just four unhealthy habits can help you live 14 years longer.

You can read the full study here.

Got to go,

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