Healthy lifestyle increases life expectancy: a table to calculate it

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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A Zurich study confirms that a healthy lifestyle is the key to longevity. The risk factors analyzed are smoking, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and low fruit intake

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The secret to living longer? Don't smoke, drink moderately alcohol, have an active lifestyle, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. More and more research confirms this, the most recent comes from Switzerland.

The University of Zurich, thanks to a study conducted on over 16 thousand people, has documented for the first time the impact of style more or less healthy that people have onlife expectation. It is now known as cardiovascular disease, diabetes but also cancer can be prevented thanks to a healthy lifestyle that avoids risk factors such as smoking, unregulated diet, excess alcohol and physical inactivity.

Experts from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Zurich examined the effects of these four factors on longevity, analyzing them both individually and in combination. Results? An individual who smokes, drinks a lot, does not practice sports and has an unbalanced diet has a 2,5 times higher risk of mortality compared to an individual who takes care of his health. As Eva Martin-Diener pointed out: "A healthy lifestyle can help you stay ten years younger".

To reach this conclusion, the researchers used data from the Swiss National Cohort (CNS) relating to the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, fruit and physical activity practiced by 16.721 participants aged between 16 and 90 between the 1977 and the 1993.

"The effect of any single factor on life expectancy is relatively high," said Dr. Diener, but smoking is the most harmful. Compared to a group of non-smokers, smokers have a 57% higher risk of dying prematurely. An unhealthy diet, no sports and too much alcohol instead translate into a 15% higher risk of mortality for each factor.



According to the researchers, the harmful effects of these bad habits appear especially in old age, the consequences are particularly visible in the 65-75 range. The chance of a 75-year-old man with none of the four risk factors of surviving the next ten years is 67%, but it drops dramatically to 35% if he has all 4.

Tables like the one below, according to experts, in the future "will be able to assist doctors in providing health advice to their patients". The scheme refers to the life expectancy (estimated as a percentage for the next 10 years) of women and men aged 65 or 75 calculated on the basis of no, moderate or high use of alcohol, smoking, fruit and the fact that do or do not engage in physical activity.



Read also:

- Change your lifestyle to live longer

- Vegetarian diet: an elixir of life against aging

- Make way for fruit and vegetables: 5 servings a day make you live 3 years longer

- Smoking: women who quit earn 10 years of life

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