Make positive lifestyle choices and live longer!
The evidence continues to accumulate--a healthy lifestyle in middle-age improves the length and quality of life. Using data from two very large cohorts, researchers looked at the associations between five low-risk lifestyle factors and mortality over 30 years. A healthy diet, never smoking, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes/day or more, a healthy weight, and no excessive alcohol consumption resulted in a 74% reduced mortality risk.
PositiveTip: These 5 factors can increase average life expectancy at age 50 by 14 years for women and 12 years in men!
We are living longer but not necessarily better.
Based on data from 190 countries between 1990-2013 life expectancy increased by 6 years to 71.5 years. However, the time spent living in good health did not keep the same pace, increasing only 5.4 years. Japan had the highest healthy life expectancy (HALE) of 73 years and Lesotho had the lowest at 42 years. U.S. men had a HALE of 66 years and women of 69 years.
PositiveTip: Healthy lifestyle choices combined with good healthcare help prevent disability and support healthy years of living.
Vegetarian diet associated with less greenhouse gas production and improved life expectancy.
Researchers at Loma Linda University are providing an environmental incentive to going vegetarian. Compared to non-vegetarian diets, a plant-based diet required 30% less greenhouse gas production. Factory farming approaches to meat production take more energy and produce more waste than plant farming. In addition, researchers found mortality rates for vegetarians were 20% lower than non-vegetarians.
PositiveTip: Consider the effects of your eating choices. Will they sustain you and the planet for the long term?
If you never smoked you are twice as likely to live to 80 compared to smokers.
"Most people in the U.S. assume that smoking is on its way out. But the grim reality is that smoking still exerts an enormous toll on the health of Americans," wrote Steven A. Schroeder, MD of UCSFO. Smoking killed about 100 million people in the 20th century, and is predicted to kill about 1 billion in the 21st century. Current data support that women who smoke like men, die like men.
Offspring of parents who lived long lives had lower vitamin D levels.
Dutch researchers found that individuals in families who tend to live long lives have low levels of 25(OH) vitamin D. Offspring of parents who lived to their 90s had significantly lower levels than controls. This surprising finding does not prove cause, and many questions remain. Genetic studies suggest these offspring may have higher levels of an "aging suppressor" protein. Much more research is needed.
PositiveTip: Do not neglect appropriate sun exposure which is needed for the production of Vitamin D in the skin.
Life expectancy reduced by TV viewing.
Every single hour of TV viewed after the age of 25 reduced, on average, the viewer's life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. Based on the amount of TV viewed in Australia in 2008, life expectancy at birth was reduced for men by 1.8 years and for women by 1.5 years. People who spend a lifetime average of 6 hours per day viewing TV can expect to live 4.8 years less when compared to those who do not watch TV.
PositiveTip: Instead of watching TV, get up and do some physical activity that will improve your health.
Limiting time sitting could increase your life expectancy by 2 years!
By analyzing data from the NHANES researchers have found that by limiting time watching television (any screen time?) to less than 2 hours per day added 1.38 years of life. Cutting total daily sitting time to less than 3 hours increased life expectancy by 2 full years. This analysis is based on 166,738 survey respondents followed for almost 10 years.
PositiveTip: Let's move it! Walk instead of sit with a friend while talking--even at work.
Smoking and excess weight predict years of disability.
A study of life expectancy and disability among normal weight, overweight, and obese smokers and nonsmokers, found that disability risks increase with greater weight. Being overweight or obese increased the risk of disability by 15% and 64%, respectively. Non-smokers who were overweight or obese experienced 3.6 and 6.1 more years of disability, respectively, compared those of normal weight. Smoking decreased life expectancy more than the years of disability.
A study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined the walking speed of older adults to see how it affected their life expectancy. The study analyzed the results of nine other scientific studies as well.
All nine studies combined together totaled more than 34,000 senior adults, 65 years of age and older. Their average age was 73. Sixty percent were women, and 80% were white. This group was followed for 6 to 21 years. In all the studies there were 17,528 deaths.
Researchers measured walking speed at the beginning of the study, by timing subjects at their normal, comfortable walking pace for a distance of about 13 feet.
Normal walking requires teamwork in the body starting with the muscles, bones, and joints. Its also a workout of the heart, lungs, and circulation, coordinated by nerves and the brain.
Exercise adds years to your life.
Want some proof? Scientists spent 35 years studying the exercise habits of Swedish men, who were 50 years old at the beginning of the research. Their findings were published in the British Medical Journal.
The study began in 1970 with 2,205 50-year-old men. The men were re-examined at ages 60, 70, 77 and 82.
Their physical activity levels were classified as:
- “low” (325 men),
- “medium,” (802 men) or
- “high” (1078 men).
At the end of 35 years, 60% (1,329 men) of the original study group had died.