In brief: Very familiar, but veritas

In brief

Very familiar, but veritas

We've heard it over and over again: Don't smoke, and quit if you do; stay trim; and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at the right levels.

Repetition doesn't make all that any less true, says Sir Richard Peto, the Oxford epidemiologist who is one of the world's leading authorities on cancer and chronic disease prevention. Those dos and don'ts (they may seem like mostly don'ts) are still our best bets for living longer, healthier lives, according to Dr. Peto.

In a talk at Harvard in spring 2005, Dr. Peto noted that about 25% of us die in middle age, which he generously defined as extending from age 35 to 69. In the vast majority of cases, heart disease or cancer is responsible. Dr. Peto believes that the middle-aged death rate from those two diseases could be slashed in half.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »