According to a new study, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the US that die every year from diseases that can be prevented (or at least postponed) if they followed a set of five healthy habits. Those five habits are well-known to all readers of health blogs and magazines - these are things such as not smoking, cutting or removing alcohol consumption, eating a cleaner diet and losing weight so that you are within your weight-range according to the BMI index.
According to a new study, there are just five different lifestyle choices a person should make in order to rapidly increase their lifespan. Those five health habits are the following: never smoke, maintain a healthy body-mass index, keep up moderate to vigorous exercise, don't drink too much alcohol, and eat a healthy diet. If a person adheres to these five lifestyle choices, he could easily add 14 years of additional life for women, and 12.2 additional years for men.
"These are some of the leading causes of premature death, so by preventing or reducing the incidence of those diseases, it promotes longevity, and it also improves survival after diagnosis of those diseases," said Dr. Meir Stampfer, who works as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and was a co-author of the study cited in this text.
There are just two leading causes of death in developed nations such as the US - those are cardiovascular diseases (heart-related problems, just as heart attacks) and all types of cancer. A person who watches out on his weight (via the BMI index), eats a clean diet, drinks alcohol only in moderate quantities (or none at all) and doesn't smoke cigarettes, had a hugely decreased of risk from dying of those two leading causes of death.
At the moment, over 610,000 people in the US die every year from cardiovascular complications, many of which have symptoms that could be treated or at the very least postponed if they adhered to healthier lifestyle choices. There are another 609,640 people that die from cancer every year (in the US alone) - while cancer is not as easily preventable, there are still ways people can at least postpone the onset of many types of cancer (such as those caused by cigarette smoke).
"We can do so much better for having a long healthy life by pretty simple minimal changes in our behavior, and only 8% of adults in our country are adhering to these," Dr. Stampfer said. "The main take-home message is that there's huge gains in health and longevity to be had just by simple changes in our behavior pattern, and as a country, I think we need to make it easier for ourselves to do this by promoting tobacco cessation, by providing better environments for physical activity and so on."
At the moment, the US ranks only 43rd in the world when it comes to life expectancy, which means that there is a lot of room for improvement, given the size and wealth of the US economy. This data was taken from the CIA World Factbook, an interactive website which lets visitors browse statistics for all the countries in the world (the available data included economic, energy, transportation and other types of data).