Studies have considered multiple lifestyle behaviors and health. The good news from all of these studies is that someone with a healthy lifestyle is likely to live about a decade longer and to be in better health than the average American.
A prospective study considered four health behaviors: smoking, being physically active, moderate alcohol intake, and a blood level of vitamin C that indicated fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day. The all-cause mortality risk for those with four compared to zero healthy behaviors was 4-fold lower and equivalent to being 14 years younger in chronological age.
A study that considered just three lifestyle behaviors related to health (not smoking, healthy diet, and adequate physical activity) also demonstrated the power of healthy habits to influence death rates. Although not many people died during the short study (an average of 5.7 years), study subjects with two out of three healthy behaviors
cut their chances of dying by more than half, and those with all three healthy behaviors reduced their chances of dying during the study by 82%.
A meta-analysis is a statistical process that combines data from many different individual research studies. A 2012 meta-analysis evaluated the findings of 15 prospective studies that had at least three of the following five lifestyle factors: obesity, alcohol consumptions, smoking, diet and physical activity. The meta-analysis found that a combination of at least four healthy lifestyle factors was associated with a 66% reduction in all-cause mortality.
A 2018 study in the journal Circulation that followed U.S. study subjects for more than 30 years found that adherence to five low-risk lifestyle-related factors at age 50 could prolong life expectancy. Those who never smoked, had a healthy weight, regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and only moderate alcohol consumption lived 14.0 years longer to age 93 for females and 12.2 years longer to age 87 for males than individuals who had no low-risk lifestyle actors.45 The study found that each factor contributed to longevity, and compared with those who didn’t have any of the healthy lifestyle habits, those who with all five were 74% less likely to die during the 30 years of the study.
Still, more evidence comes from a study of Seventh-Day Adventists who ate a vegetarian diet for at least half of their lives. They lived about 13 years longer than a comparison group of non-smoking Californians consuming a typical American diet.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in the book or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Wellness with a Lifestyle Checklist. References for most of the health related information in this blog can be found in the book, The Building Blocks of Health now available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Building-Blocks-Health-Lifestyle-Checklist-ebook/dp/B08RC3XRCY/. Copyright 2020 by J. Joseph Speidel.