Eight habits to take up by the age of 40 if you want to live decades longer have been identified by scientists.
Researchers who studied the lifestyles of 700,000 Americans found men who had adopted all eight by that age lived around 24 years longer than those who had none.
Women who did so gained an extra 21 years, according to the findings.
The eight habits are: being physically active, being free from opioid addiction, not smoking, managing stress, having a good diet, not regularly binge drinking, having good sleep hygiene, and having positive social relationships.
Study author Dr. Xuan-Mai Nguyen, of the Department of Veterans Affairs at Carle Illinois College of Medicine said: “We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors.
“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.”
The team used data from medical records and questionnaires collected between 2011-2019 from 719,147 people enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program.
The analysis included data from adults age 40-99 and included 33,375 deaths during follow-up.
Low physical activity, opioid use, and smoking had the biggest impact on lifespan with around a 30 to 45 percent higher risk of death.
Stress, binge drinking, poor diet, and poor sleep hygiene were each associated with around a 20 percent increase in the risk of death.
A lack of positive social relationships was only associated with a five percent increase.
The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, Mass., emphasize the role of lifestyle factors in contributing to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Nguyen said: “Lifestyle medicine is aimed at treating the underlying causes of chronic diseases rather than their symptoms.
“It provides a potential avenue for altering the course of ever-increasing health care costs resulting from prescription medicine and surgical procedures.”
Although the benefits declined with age, they were still significant.
Dr. Nguyen added: “It is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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