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Nutrition News: Healthy Lifestyle, Longer Life

Charlyn Fargo on

With a little more unexpected time at home, it's a great time to make a new start on your healthy lifestyle. For years, doctors have advocated a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress relief and weight control. A new study confirms there are tangible benefits.

A Dutch study finds that the presence of all these healthy lifestyle factors was associated with two extra years of good health compared with those high-risk lifestyles. Another study found that those without any lifestyle risk factors lived, on average, six years more without chronic disease compared with those who had two or more risk factors. And in case you're still not convinced, a third study showed that without any risk factors, people lived, on average, nine years longer before the onset of any chronic disease.

We now have time to take a daily walk or do an online workout video, cook a homemade meal (with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains) and get a little extra sleep.

What most of us seem to lack isn't really the time (like we profess) but the desire to improve our habits.

That's why I highlighted these studies this week. The choices you are making now toward a healthier lifestyle really do make a difference down the road.

Just what combination of healthy lifestyle factors is needed?

 

A new study, published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, answers that question. The researchers designed a prospective study comprising over 116,000 people from 1991 to 2006 and included 12 European studies.

Participants were scored on each of four lifestyle factors, including smoking, body mass index, physical activity and drinking. They found healthy body weight essential to a healthy lifestyle profile, along with physical exercise, absence of smoking and less than one drink a day for women and two for men.

The end result? Ten more years of healthy life in men and 9.4 more in women, compared with men and women with the lowest lifestyle scores.

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