The lifestyle changes are hardly news; they are regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping to a normal weight, and not smoking.
Yet their benefits to our health and longevity are enormous, say researchers from the Johns Hopkins University. People who adopt them are 80 per cent less likely to die from any cause over the next eight years compared to someone who doesn't follow any of them.
Although they may seem obvious, just 2 per cent of the 6,200 people the researchers reviewed were following all four lifestyle choices. Not surprisingly, the most damaging is smoking; smokers who adopted two of the other three healthy choices still died sooner than non-smokers who did no exercise and were overweight.
(Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, 2013; doi: 10.1093/aje/kws453)