Healthy lifestyle and longevity
Harvard TH The Chan School of Public Health conducted a massive study on the impact of health habits on life expectancy, using data from the famous Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Care Professionals Study (HPFS). . This means that they have had data on a large number of people for a very long time. The NHS included more than 78,000 women and followed them from 1980 to 2014. HPFS included more than 40,000 men and followed them from 1986 to 2014. This represents more than 120,000 participants, 34 years of data for women and 28 years of data. for men.
The researchers analyzed NHS and HPFS data on diet, physical activity, body weight, smoking and alcohol consumption that were collected from regularly administered validated questionnaires.
What is a healthy lifestyle?
These five areas were chosen because previous studies have shown that they have a significant impact on the risk of premature death. Here’s how these healthy habits were defined and measured:
- A healthy diet, which was calculated and evaluated based on the reported consumption of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods, such as red meats and processed, sweetened with sugary drinks, trans fat and sodium.
- Healthy physical activity level, measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.
- Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Smoking, well, there is not a healthy amount of smoke. “Healthy” here means never smoking.
- Moderate alcohol consumption, measured between 5 and 15 grams per day for women and between 5 and 30 grams per day for men. In general, a drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. There are 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol.
The researchers also analyzed data on age, ethnicity and drug use, as well as comparative data from national health and nutrition surveys and large online data from the Centers for Disease Control. and control. Disease prevention for epidemiological research.
Does a healthy lifestyle make a difference?
As a result, healthy habits make a big difference. Based on this analysis, people who met the criteria of the five habits lived much longer than those who did not: 14 years for women and 12 years for men (if they had those habits at 50). . People who had none of these habits were much more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.
The study’s researchers also calculated life expectancy based on how many of these five healthy habits people had. A healthy habit (and it doesn’t matter which one) … a … two-year life expectancy extension for men and women. Unsurprisingly, the more healthy habits people have, the longer the life span. This is one of those situations where you want to reprint your graphics because they are excellent. (But, if you are really curious, the article is available online and the graphs are on page 7. See Graph B, “Life expectancy estimated at 50 years by the number of low risk factors”).
This is huge AND confirms previous similar searches, many similar previous searches. A 2017 study using data from the Health and Retirement Study found that people 50 years of age or older of normal weight never smoked and drank alcohol in moderation lived on average seven years older. A 2012 mega-analysis of 15 international studies involving more than 500,000 participants found that more than half of premature deaths occurred due to factors detrimental to lifestyle, such as poor diet, inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. And the list of supporting investigations continues.
So, what is our (big) problem?
As the authors of this study point out, in the United States we tend to spend a lot on developing sophisticated drugs and other treatments for illnesses, rather than trying to avoid them. Its a big problem.