Researchers are constantly looking for ways to boost health and improve overall quality of life. Increased longevity is something that people often think is intangible, however new a study shows that doing 3 things might help you live longer. We love sharing research like this because the overall health and well being of our clients is important!
Want to add years to your life expectancy and delay the onset of disability? New research suggests doing so may come down to drinking in moderation, not smoking, and maintaining a non-obese weight.
A team of researchers from the University of Michigan just published a study in the journal Health Affairs that looked at how specific lifestyle choices impacted people’s life expectancy and overall health over time. The researchers analyzed data from over 14,000 people age 50 and older that had been collected since 1992. It turned out that adults who hit age 50 with a BMI never having smoked, who had BMIs under 30 (which is considered the threshold for obesity), and who didn’t currently drink heavily lived seven years longer than their counterparts, six of which years were disability-free. (Heavy drinking is defined as more than 14 drinks per week for men and more than seven drinks per week for women.)
In life expectancy terms, men and women who followed these guidelines increased their life expectancy to 85 and 89 respectively, as opposed to the current life expectancies of 78 for men and 82 for women.
Alongside these findings, the study highlighted an alarming statistic: Some 80 percent of Americans have smoked, been obese, or both by their fifties. Researchers say this shows the importance of creating policies and programs that tackle these issues sooner. “Our study speaks to the importance of prevention at whatever level that can occur in community health or in public policy,” study co-author Neil Mehta, an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan, said in a press release.
Mehta also pointed out that investing in prevention could eventually lower the cost of treating disabilities. And on an individual level, while genetics and environment play large roles in your life expectancy and quality of life, it’s helpful to know that behavioral changes can make a difference.
More on physical health and wellbeing: