Over 2.5 million Americans die every year. Most people would like to avoid being in this group and live a long, healthy life, but aren’t sure how to do it. Is early death a matter of bad genetics? Limited access to health care? Let’s look at the facts and draw some conclusions.
Fact # 1: What are the major killers of Americans? Depending on what age group you check, the major killers include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, chronic lung disease, auto accidents, suicide, infectious disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease. The top four of these events alone account for over 60% of the deaths.
Fact #2: What are the top risk factors in eight of the above ten processes? Smoking and obesity account for roughly two-thirds of the deaths in Americans. Other contending risks factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high salt intake, high dietary trans fats, low intake of Omega-3 fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables.
Fact #3: Two dozen studies of centenarians show that 16 lifestyle habits can strongly predict who will live healthfully to be 100. (You can take a quick questionnaire on-line at www.livingto100.com to see if you qualify.) These 16 habits include:
- Have low blood sugar (less than 100)
- Have low blood pressure (less than 115/75)
- Have low cholesterol (less than 200)
- Keep weight low and steady
- Eat fewer calories
- Eat mostly vegetarian diet
- Avoid nutritional deficiencies
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Drink less alcohol
- Get regular and restful sleep
- Have healthy gums
- Challenge your mind
- Stay positive in attitude, cope with anxiety
- Shed stressors, have daily structure, be resilient
- Stay socially connected
Practicing just four of these activities will add 14 good years to your life. Practicing # 1, 2, 4, 8, and 9 increase your chances to live pass 90 by 50%. These statistics hold even for those who start living a healthier lifestyle after age 50.
If this works that well in older people and you are younger, what are you waiting for?