Tags: active | life | longevity

Healthy Living Adds 5-6 Years to Life

Tuesday, 04 September 2012 10:54 AM

How much can leading a healthy, physically active lifestyle add to longevity? New research has calculated it can add five years to women’s lives in old age and six years to men’s.
The findings, published online in the British Medical Journal, are the first to provide specific information about differences in longevity based on such modifiable lifestyle factors as being overweight, exercise, smoking and heavy drinking in people aged 75 years or more.
For the study, Swedish researchers tracked more 1,800 individuals for 18 years (between 1987 and 2005), recording information on age, sex, occupation, education, lifestyle behaviors, social network and leisure activities.
During the study period 92 percent of the participants died, but half lived longer than 90 years. In evaluating the differences among those who lived longer than those who died younger, researchers found long-term survivors were more likely to be women, highly educated, have healthy lifestyle behaviors, better social networks, and participate in more leisure activities than those who died earlier. Among the findings:
• Overall, healthy lifestyles prolonged women's lives by five years and men's by six years.
• Smokers died one year earlier than non-smokers, on average.
• Of the leisure activities, physical activity was most strongly associated with longevity; the average age at death of participants who regularly swam, walked or did gymnastics was two years greater than those who did not.
• Overall, the average survival of people with a low risk profile (including healthy lifestyle behaviors, participation in at least one leisure activity, and a rich or moderate social network) was 5.4 years longer than those with a high risk profile (those with unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, no participation in leisure activities, and a limited or poor social network).
• Even among those aged 85 years or older and people with chronic conditions, the average age at death was four years higher for those with a low risk profile compared with those with a high risk profile.
"Our results suggest that encouraging favorable lifestyle behaviors even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity," the researchers concluded.

© HealthDay

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Leading a healthy, physically active lifestyle can add 5 years to women’s lives and 6 years to men’s.
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 10:54 AM
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