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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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August 2018 (Vol. 3 Issue 6)

The three healthy ways that can add 11 years to your life
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

The three healthy ways that can add 11 years to your life image

Everyone talks about adopting a healthier lifestyle—but how many years does it actually add to your life? Researchers have done their sums, and reckon that someone who doesn't smoke, isn't obese and drinks alcohol moderately can live 11 years longer.

Following just those three lifestyle choices is enough for someone to outlive even the typical Japanese person—usually considered the world's longest-livers—and enjoying good health throughout those extra years, too.

In an analysis of the lifestyles of more than 14,000 Americans, researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany found that those who weren't obese were living between four and five years longer than their overweight counterparts, and those who drank alcohol moderately were adding seven years to their lives compared to heavy drinkers.

But life expectancy increased by 11 years for a male non-smoker who wasn't obese and drank moderately, compared to those who adopted all three bad habits. The life expectancy for a woman was even more, and she could expect to live 12 extra years.

In assessing the risk, obesity was defined as a body mass index of more than 30, moderate drinking as 14 or fewer drinks a week, and non-smoking as having smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in a lifetime.

Although advances in medicine are often seen as the major contributor to improving life expectancy, a healthy lifestyle—which costs nothing—is just as effective, says researcher Mikko Myrskyla.


References

(Source: Health Affairs, 2017; 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1569)

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