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Eight habits to live 20 years longer

September 22, 2023

A recent study involving over 700,000 U.S. veterans reports that people who adopt eight healthy lifestyle habits by middle age can expect to live substantially longer than those with few or none of these habits. 

According to the results, men who have all the habits combined at age 40 would be predicted to live an average of 24 years longer than men with none of these habits. For women, having all eight healthy lifestyle factors in middle age was associated with a predicted 21 additional years of life compared to women with none of these habits.

The eight habits (ranked by importance):

  1. Being physically active

  2. Being free from opioid addiction

  3. Not smoking

  4. Managing stress

  5. Having a good diet

  6. Not regularly binge drinking

  7. Having good sleep hygiene

  8. Having positive social relationships

“We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors,” said Xuan-Mai T. Nguyen, health science specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs and rising fourth-year medical student at Carle Illinois College of Medicine. “Our research findings suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for both public health and personal wellness. The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial.”

After adjusting for age, body mass index, sex, race and ethnicity, marital status, education level and family income level, the study found “an 87% relative reduction in all-cause mortality for those who adopted all eight lifestyle factors compared to those who adopted none,” Nguyen said.

Source: CNN | American Society for Nutrition