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  Dr. Bollmann, Anti-Aging Expert

Live Healthy, Live Longer

A number of studies validate lifestyle and other modifiable factors to promote a long and healthy lifespan:

• Cambridge University (United Kingdom) researchers report that healthy lifestyle choices can extend lifespan by 14 years.  In a study of 20,000 men and women, ages 45 to 79, conducted for 13 years, Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues found that those study subjects with the lowest number of healthy behaviors were four-times more likely to die, most notably from cardiovascular disease.  Specifically, the team found that study participants with the lowest healthy lifestyle scores had the same risk of dying as someone with the highest healthy lifestyle scores who was 14 years older.  

    The lifestyle change with the biggest benefit was smoking cessation, associated with an 80% improvement in lifespan.  

    The second most significant change was increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.  

    Thirdly, moderate drinking; and 

     fourthly, staying physically active, rounded out the four most beneficial lifestyle choices to extend lifespan.

• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Georgia USA) researchers studied data collected on 23,153 German men and women, ages 35 to 65 years, who participated in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study.  The team found that four lifestyle factors -- namely never smoking, having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less, exercising 3.5 hours a week and eating a healthy diet – slashed the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer by a staggering 80%. 

• Researchers from the University College London (United Kingdom) analyzed data from a 17-year study of 10,000 London civil service workers (average age of 44 at study’s start).  Seventeen years after the study began, 13% of the men, and 15% of the women, were found to be free of major illnesses and retained good physical and mental functioning.  The researchers found that the odds of this successful aging depended primarily on lifestyle choices.  Men and women who ate a healthy diet, did not smoke, and exercised regularly were more likely to remain free of disease and disability.  For men, social support at work, to buffer job stress, promoted better long-term health.  For women, moderate alcohol consumption appeared beneficial.

• Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) analyzed data collected on 80,000 women nurses spanning two decades.  The team determined 55% of the deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked, exercised regularly, eaten a healthy diet (low in red meat and trans fats), and maintained a healthy weight. Smoking was by far the factor to play the biggest role in premature deaths, with the team estimating that it was directly responsible for 28% of the deaths.

• Among women, a  healthy lifestyle may help to prevent new-onset hypertension.  Researchers from the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA)  studied 116,000 nurses for a 20-year period.  Six specific behaviors – namely, maintaining a normal weight, exercised daily, consuming  a low sodium diet, drinking alcohol in moderation, using analgesics infrequently, and taking folic acid supplements – accounted for a 78% reduction in risk for hypertension. 

Lifestyle choices including not smoking, eating fresh foods, engaging in regular exercise, minimizing psychological stress, and drinking in moderation are basic tenets of the anti-aging lifestyle.  By embracing these concepts, not only might we extend how long we may live, but how well.  A prolonged healthspan --  the length of time that we are able to live productively and independently – is, in many ways, as important as an extended lifespan.


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