Researchers have identified eight habits that could help you live more than 20 years longer.
A study pinpointed eight factors that have the biggest impact on lifespan – being physically active, not smoking, managing stress, having a good diet, not regularly binge drinking, not having an opioid addiction, sleeping well, and having positive social relationships.
Men who adopt all those habits at age 40 could enjoy an extra 24 years of life compared to men who don’t, while women with the habits could live an extra 21 years.
Researchers drew the conclusions from data from more than 700,000 Americans who were part of the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Programme.
The study found that low physical activity, opioid use, and smoking had the biggest impact on lifespan, and were associated with a 30-45% higher risk of death.
Stress, binge drinking, poor diet, and poor sleep were each associated with about a 20% increase in the risk of death.
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Xuan-Mai Nguyen, health science specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said: “We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors.
“Our research findings suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for both public health and personal wellness.
“The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial.”
The researchers say their findings, which have not been peer-reviewed, highlight the role of lifestyle factors in contributing to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease that lead to premature disability and death.
The research was presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.