A study in the BMJ suggests that women and men can gain almost a decade of life free of cancer, heart problems, and type-2 diabetes as a result of a healthy lifestyle. But what does that imply?
It means that you must exercise regularly, drink in moderation, maintain a healthy weight, a good diet, and no smoking.
The EU research by Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston is based on 111,000 people tracked for more than 20 years.
What was the study about?
The research included 50-year-old participants, who were asked if they ever smoke, follow a balanced diet, have at least 30 minutes of activity every day, have a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9, and if they drink beer or wine moderately.
Women who said they met four out of five criteria lived an average of another 34 years free of cancer, cardiovascular disease (such as heart attacks and strokes), and type-2 diabetes, i.e., more than 10 years longer than those who did not. For healthy men, it meant another 31 years of disease-free life, more than seven years extra than unhealthy men could expect.
The difference between women and men may be linked to the fact that women live longer than men, on average. But what is true for both sexes – according to the research – is that not only did a healthy lifestyle reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type-2 diabetes, it also improved survival if men and women were diagnosed with any of the diseases, which are the most common diseases in old age.