They all sound like good ideas. But when it comes to healthy living, which one will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to a longer life?
That is the question that researchers at the University of Zurich recently asked. For their study, the researchers studied 16,721 people, ages 16 to 90 from 1977 to 1993 with their corresponding deaths up until 2003. They were trying to figure out exactly which components of a healthy lifestyle could be attributed to a longer life.
Here's what they found:
Smokers have a 57 percent chance of dying prematurely. And people who engage in all four risky behaviors -- smoking, drinking, avoiding exercise, and eating an unhealthy diet -- have a mortality risk that's two and a half times higher than someone who refrains from bad health habits.
In a university press release, the study's author, Brian Martin, M.D., a professor at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich remarked about how surprised they were that the combination of risk factors increased the mortality rate to such a degree. For example, a 75-year-old man who engages in all four risk factors is only 35 percent likely to live another ten years. But if he avoids those behaviors, he increases his odds of surviving another decade by 67 percent.
If you look at the diagram to the right, you can see that for a woman, the likelihood is 47 and 74 percent respectively.
Want to live a longer life? Pur down that cigarette, put down that beer, and go take a walk. Oh, and you might want to eat an apple on the way.
Related posts on MNN:
- 123-year-old owes incredible longevity to ancient Andean diet
- 10 animals with the longest life spans
- How telomeres can predict life span
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.