Following a healthy and active lifestyle is part of the habits to live 10 more years in good health, without the burden of cardiovascular disease or cancer. In particular, women can gain up to ten years – and men seven – of life free of cancer, heart problems and type 2 diabetes, thanks to a healthy lifestyle.
This is what an American study published in “Bmj” suggests. To do this, researchers say, all you need to do is exercise regularly, drink in moderation, maintain a healthy weight, follow a proper diet, and don’t smoke.
The US research is based on data from 111,000 people followed for more than 20 years. The study’s lead author, Frank Hu, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said the study “sends a positive message to the public.
You gain not only more years of life, but also good years, thanks to better choices. At age 50, participants were asked if they met at least four of the following five criteria:
- never smoke
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet
- Do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day
- Have a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9
- Drink no more than a glass of wine a day for women and a pint of beer for men.
Well, women who said they met four of the five criteria lived an average of 34 years without cancer, without cardiovascular disease (like a heart attack or stroke), and without type 2 diabetes, which is 10 years longer than their partner.
For men, a healthy lifestyle allowed them to live an additional 31 years without disease, seven more than their partner.
And not only that. The healthiest men and women in the study had never smoked before. And while women seem to have an advantage (but also have a longer life expectancy), certain elements have proven effective for both sexes: a healthy lifestyle not only reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2, but also improves survival if one of these diseases is diagnosed.