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Harvard Study: Practice these 5 healthy habits at age 50; live longer, healthier and free of chronic diseases – Times Now

Live longer and healthier life with these small tricks

Live longer and healthier life with the help of these small tricks&  | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

  • A Harvard study has listed 5 simple habits most of us can incorporate in our lives with ease.
  • These habits can stave off the onset of heart diseases, diabetes, and other age-related maladies.
  • A study by Harvard experts has helped figure out 5 such game-changer habits.

50 is a crucial number in human age, and those who practice healthy habits at age 50 live more years free of chronic diseases, says The Harvard Gazette. When it comes to health issues, the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health are institutions to look up to due to the thorough researches they come up with. Amy Roeder of the Harvard Chan School Communications writes that there are 5 crucial healthy habits at middle-age that may increase years lived free of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, according to a new study led by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

The study published online in BMJ in early 2020, is a follow-up and extension of a 2018 study, which found that following these habits increased overall life expectancy. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/01/5-healthy-habits-may-offer-years-free-of-chronic-diseases/

What are the 5 precious habits?

  1. Eating a healthy diet: To some extent, when it comes to healthy aging, we become what we eat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four deaths results from heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Among the top risk factors are obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and poor diet — with the first three often tied to the last. So it is important that we eat sensibly, mindfully, healthy, and happily.
  2. Exercising regularly: Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases; it can help keep your body at a healthy weight. and help a person age well.
  3. Keeping a healthy body weight: According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH): A BMI of less than 18.5 means that a person is underweight. A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal. A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is overweight. If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. 
  4. Not drinking too much alcohol: A glass a day may not harm your overall health. But if the habit grows or if you find yourself having a hard time stopping after just one glass, the cumulative effects can ruin your health on all parameters.
  5. Not smoking: The US CDC says smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Warding off Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer:
“Previous studies have found that following a healthy lifestyle improves overall life expectancy and reduces risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, but few studies have looked at the effects of lifestyle factors on life expectancy free from such diseases,” said first author Yanping Li, senior research scientist in the Department of Nutrition. “This study provides strong evidence that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free.”

How was the study conducted?
The participants were part of Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study 
34 years of data from 73,196 women and 28 years of data from 38,366 men participants were looked into
A healthy diet was defined as “a high score on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index”
Regular exercise as “at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity”
Healthy weight as a body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2; and 
Moderate alcohol intake as up to one serving per day for women and up to two for men.

At least 80 per cent compliance worked:
They found that women who practised four or five of the healthy habits at age 50 lived an average of 34.4 more years free of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, compared to 23.7 healthy years among women who practised none of these healthy habits. 
Men practising four or five healthy habits at age 50 lived 31.1 years free of chronic disease, compared to 23.5 years among men who practised none. 
Men who were current heavy smokers, and men and women with obesity, had the lowest disease-free life expectancy.

“Given the high cost of chronic disease treatment, public policies to promote a healthy lifestyle by improving food and physical environments would help to reduce health care costs and improve quality of life,” said senior author Frank Hu, Fredrick J Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair, Department of Nutrition.

Would you rather not strive to comply with the five healthy habits and draw the benefits of living longer and healthier than abusing your health to regret later – when there won’t be much you can do to turn things around?

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.

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