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Friday, January 11, 2008

Want To Gain Fourteen More Years Of Life?

posted by on January 11 at 12:01 PM

Don’t smoke, drink moderately (1-2 drinks per day), exercise and eat five servings of fruits or vegetables a day.

We examined the prospective relationship between lifestyle and mortality in a prospective population study of 20,244 men and women aged 45–79 y with no known cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline survey in 1993–1997, living in the general community in the United Kingdom, and followed up to 2006. Participants scored one point for each health behaviour: current non-smoking, not physically inactive, moderate alcohol intake (1–14 units a week) and plasma vitamin C >50 mmol/l indicating fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day, for a total score ranging from zero to four. After an average 11 y follow-up, the age-, sex-, body mass–, and social class–adjusted relative risks (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause mortality(1,987 deaths) for men and women who had three, two, one, and zero compared to four health behaviours were respectively, 1.39 (1.21–1.60), 1.95 (1.70–-2.25), 2.52 (2.13–3.00), and 4.04 (2.95–5.54) p < 0.001 trend. The relationships were consistent in subgroups stratified by sex, age, body mass index, and social class, and after excluding deaths within 2 y. The trends were strongest for cardiovascular causes. The mortality risk for those with four compared to zero health behaviours was equivalent to being 14 y younger in chronological age.
(Random bolding added by me.)

Like many such (non-interventional) studies, it’s hard to tell exactly how much of this is due to the behaviors measured compared to other unmeasured factors. And it might only apply to pasty UK residents.

Still, it’s a pretty stunning result.


RSS icon Comments

Still, it’s a pretty stunning result.

Yeah, who would have ever suspected that not smoking, exercising, and eating fruits and vegetables would have positive health effects? It just goes contrary to everything we've ever been told!

Posted by tsm | January 11, 2008 12:20 PM

@1 beat me to it.

Posted by Rotten666 | January 11, 2008 12:24 PM

Yes, but *14* years?

Posted by Jonathan Golob | January 11, 2008 12:25 PM

One to four drinks per day?

Can I bundle them and have 28 drinks on the weekend?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 11, 2008 12:30 PM

Sweet, I can start drinking on the weekdays again! Just gotta eat more veggies now.

Posted by joey | January 11, 2008 12:31 PM

A lot riding on the proportional hazards assumption of the Cox model...

Posted by umvue | January 11, 2008 12:34 PM

i love that immortal picture

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 11, 2008 12:36 PM

Again I say: eat less, move more, stop smoking.

It will probably lower your health-care costs too.

Posted by PA Native | January 11, 2008 12:42 PM

they're not exactly saying it will add 14 years to your life, rather that one's "physical age" is 14 years less than their chronological age, in terms of mortality risk. i.e, if you're 50 your risk of dying of various diseases is equivalent to a 36-year old. this isn't *quite* the same thing.

it's more an indicator of health, not longevity, although those things are obviously interconnected.

Posted by brandon | January 11, 2008 12:43 PM

In a just world I would be able to make up for less physical activity with more drinking.

Posted by Giffy | January 11, 2008 12:54 PM

The reality is that these key factors, as well as lack of sleep and stress, show up in virtually every longitudinal study done in Medicine.

If moving reduces stress and improves sleep, go for it. If it (more likely) increases stress, than don't. I find packing boxes to be exercise, but not as fun as other ways of getting exercise.

You'll still die by 120 years, anyway, this only extends your life somewhat and improves your operational aspects.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2008 12:55 PM

If 1-2 drinks per day is drinking moderately, I wonder if you can save them up and drink 3-7 drinks twice a week.

Posted by The General | January 11, 2008 12:56 PM

The Stranger finally gives a healthy nod to black a science post.

Posted by Brian | January 11, 2008 1:43 PM

golob gets points.

Posted by cryptic winterstorms | January 11, 2008 1:45 PM

@12, that works for me.

Only 3 more hours til martini time, thank god.

Posted by Irena | January 11, 2008 2:15 PM

You asked that already, @12.

No. It's moderate drinking in a social setting. So it's 1-2 drinks a day but if you skip a day you can't save it up.

Of course, if you do 3-4 one or two days a week, it's not really going to hurt much.

Well, except for the hangover.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2008 3:14 PM

Shit. I haven't been able to deal with drinking daily since I was 25, and haven't been inclined since I quit the job where I listened to people bitch about their $10,000 cruises all day. Guess I better stock up on good tequila.

Posted by Gitai | January 11, 2008 3:55 PM

It's not a longer life without vices.

It just seems like it.

Posted by Wolf | January 11, 2008 4:00 PM

What's sad/funny about Immortal is that one of the guys is like 38. Also it's funny to picture them drinking a Pepsi or buying Pert shampoo.

Posted by Miss Clairol | January 11, 2008 4:12 PM

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