Ways to extend disease-free life expectancy revealed
Experts from Harvard University and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences suggested that healthy habits such as drinking in moderation, staying slim and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day could extend people’s disease-free life by up to a decade.
Experts found that people who led a healthy lifestyle could expect to enjoy many more years of good health than those who smoked, drank too much or were overweight.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, included data for more than 110,000 people and looked specifically at cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers looked at five “low-risk” healthy habits – never smoking, a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 18 to 25, moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day (including brisk walking), moderate alcohol intake and a healthy diet.
Moderate alcohol intake was regarded as 5g to 15g of pure alcohol per day for women (one unit of alcohol has 8g of pure alcohol, so 15g is about one 175ml glass of wine), and 5g to 30g per day of alcohol for men (30g is about 1.5 pints of beer).
The team then looked at life expectancy free of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and how many more disease-free years people could expect from the age of 50.
The results showed that women leading a healthy lifestyle (adopting four or five healthy living factors) had a disease-free life expectancy at 50 of 34.4 more years, taking them to the age of 84 without diabetes, cancer or heart disease.
This compared with just 23.7 more years of disease-free life expectancy from 50 for women who had not adopted any of the elements of a healthy lifestyle.
For men aged 50, those who adopted four or five healthy living factors could expect a further 31.1 years free from disease, compared with just 23.5 years for men who had no healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Men who smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day, and obese men and women (with a BMI over 30) had the worst chances of living a life free from disease, the Guardian reported.