HOW LONG WILL YOU LIVE?

Nurses regularly provide advice about habits to help their patients stay healthy.

The advice always includes eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, keep a healthy body weight, reduce alcohol consumption and don’t smoke.

That advice is willingly received or ignored depending upon the patient’s personal circumstances.

And let’s face it, nurses are just like their patients.

They may know what they should do but they will not always follow their own advice.

Why this happens is a matter for discussion at another time.

Would it change your attitude to this advice if your life expectancy has been quantified to increase by 14 years in women if you followed this advice.

The increase is 12 years for men.

Researchers, in a paper published in Circulation, looked at how five low-risk lifestyle factors might impact on mortality.

The five low-risk factors were 

1. not smoking,

2. low body mass index (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), 

3. at least 30 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, 

4. moderate alcohol intake (for example, up to about one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women, or up to two glasses for men), and 

5. a healthy diet.

The researchers said that there was a close response between each individual healthy lifestyle behaviour and a reduction in risk of early death.

That is a combination of all five healthy behaviours were linked with the most expected additional years of life.

The estimation is that people at age 50 who did NOT follow the advice will live to 79 for women and 75.5 for men.

If all five habits were followed, on average, women will live to over 93 years and men will live to over 87 years.

But it is not only personal efforts that have an impact upon life expectancy.

It is also the quality of the food we eat and the physical environments that we live in, that have an impact on life expectancy.

Restricting smoking in public, access to parks and access to fast food outlets also impact upon mortality.

To learn more about your life expectancy, 

Li, Yanping, et al. “Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population.” Circulation (2018): CIRCULATIONAHA-117.

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