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Four Health Factors to Live a much Longer Life

Friday, February 22, 2008 by: Sarah Aitken
Tags: longevity, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Not long ago I had a friend say something along these lines, "I don't smoke or drink I won't live longer, it will just seem that way!" This got me thinking. How do these factors combined affect health? I just so happened to read a great study in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) not long after about this exact topic.

A recent study published in the PLoS has highlighted four health factors that, when combined, can lead to a much longer life. There have been many studies highlighting the impact of smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption and an adequate intake of fruit and vegetables, but none that studied the synergistic effect of all four. These individual lifestyle factors have been well documented. The researchers wanted to see if small achievable lifestyle choices would make a measurable impact on health.

If you are a smoker, you have probably heard many people tell you to quit. If you are sedentary, you have probably heard that you should exercise. Most of us grew up with our mothers telling us to "eat our vegetables". Others have been told by our doctors that moderate alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, can benefit our health. If you want to lead a healthier lifestyle, it is about the combined everyday actions that lead to good health, not just one focused action. This study brings us one step closer to understanding that the synergistic effect of our everyday actions can lead to a longer, healthier life.

The study examined 20,244 men and women from the U.K. living in the general community, aged 4579 years old. They had no known cardiovascular disease or cancer at the baseline survey held in 19931997. Each participant was given one point against each of the four health factors, and assigned a score from zero to four. The health factors were: currently non-smoking, physically active, moderate alcohol intake (defined as 114 units a week) and plasma vitamin C >50 mmol/l. The plasma vitamin C levels indicate a fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day. After an 11 year follow-up it was found that those with a score of four, compared to a score of zero, is equivalent to being 14 years younger in chronological age. Or to be clear - a person with a health score of 0 has the same risk of dying as a person with a health score of 4 who is 14 years older. Those with a score of four had a higher quality of life with those at a comparable age with a score of zero, and a significantly lower risk of death. This study shows that small, achievable lifestyle changes can have a marked effect on the length and quality of life of the general population.

If you are a non-smoker, non-drinker (or very low to moderate drinker), are active and eat your veggies you are probably going to out-live your peers by many years, and live them well! And while the joke is true, you will live longer because you don't smoke or drink; having a better quality of life will enable you to do things that your (smoking, sedentary, drinking, "I don't like vegetables") peers won't be able to do. Your youth and vitality will continue on for many more years (about 14 years in fact) and that is a lot of time to continue exploring the world and enjoying life!

About the author

Sarah is a Chemical and Materials Engineer by education. Through years of focused self-study, she has come to see the benefit of whole food nutrition and allowing the body to heal itself. A Field Center Certified Facilitator, Sarah is passionate about being helpful to others, in any venue, in their quest for a better life.

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