Healthy habits mean more disease-free years

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Published: April, 2020

You've heard (in these pages, and others) that a healthy lifestyle can stave off chronic disease. But just how many extra disease-free years might you get from that healthy lifestyle? A lot, suggests an observational Harvard-led study published online Jan. 8, 2020, by The BMJ. Researchers evaluated more than 30 years' worth of health data from 111,000 people who were free of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease at age 50. Compared with those who didn't follow any healthy lifestyle habits, those who followed four or five healthy habits had an additional decade of disease-free living. The elements of a healthy lifestyle will come as no surprise: don't smoke, limit alcohol intake, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise at least 30 minutes per day. The surprise is just how many additional disease-free years a healthy lifestyle can give you.

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