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Increase Your Life Expectancy by Changing Your Lifestyle Today: Research Insights

A healthy lifestyle is highly beneficial, especially for older people who could help them live longer than average considering they are taking care of their health, with stats proving that up to three years could be added for women and six years for men in their average life expectancy, from research which was published in the journal BMJ. In addition, more of those years may be dementia-free. More than 6 million Americans 65 years and older have the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s, for which there is no cure.

Research has shown that adopting a healthy lifestyle will add up to 6 to 7 years more for people with various long-term conditions. Regular exercise, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and having a balanced diet will help subdue the negative impact of long-term illness on life expectancy. However, it was unknown that this could benefit people with multiple conditions.

People with two or more health issues have poor health and are more at risk of death than others. Multi-morbidity is having two or more long-term illnesses, ranging from anxiety and eczema to cancer and schizophrenia. This has become a global epidemic because of their work-life stress and their inability to balance it with their personal life.

Research Insights

The research study under discussion reveals that at the age of 65, females who have adopted the most healthy lifestyles have an average life expectancy of about 24 years. These women have an average life expectancy of 21 years, four years lesser than healthy women. This is in stark comparison with other females who do not care for themselves well and whose lifestyle was deemed less healthy.

The same is the case with men. Those with the healthiest lifestyle have an average life expectancy of 23 years. If you compare this with those men who were not living a very healthy lifestyle, it comes out that their average life expectancy is only 17 years of age.

This information was extracted from research that included a total of 2,449 people. All key findings were from participants 65 years or older and part of the Chicago Health and Aging Project. This program first got participants enrolled in the year 1993.

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The current researchers developed a healthy lifestyle scoring system for their respective participants that encompassed five factors: diet, cognitive activity, physical activity, smoking consumption, and alcohol consumption.

People were awarded one point for each area if they met nutritional standards, yielding a final summed score of 0 to 5, with higher scores indicating a healthier lifestyle.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

As for living with dementia, those with a score of 4 or 5 healthy factors at age 65 lived with Alzheimer’s for a smaller proportion of their remaining years than those with a score of 0 or 1. For women, the difference for those with a healthier lifestyle was having Alzheimer’s for 11 percent of their final years vs. 19 percent for those with a less healthy lifestyle; for men, it was 6 percent of their remaining time vs. 12 percent. The most-fit are 33 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, a report says

The researchers concluded that “prolonged life expectancy owing to a healthy lifestyle is not accompanied by an increased number of years living with Alzheimer’s dementia” but rather by “a larger proportion of remaining years lived without Alzheimer’s dementia.”

Keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle with low impact, tolerable physical exercise; a good, well-balanced, colorful diet; hydration; and an appropriate amount of sleep can help maintain a positive mental outlook and physical state.

However, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low. Therefore, public policies should emphasize creating healthy food and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles.”

People without multi-morbidity are at low mortality risk and have better health outcomes than those with two or more illnesses. A healthy lifestyle is linked with a longer life expectancy, so it is suggested to have a healthy diet rich in nutrients from an early age to reduce high mortality risk. To do so, keep healthy body weight, avoid consuming too much alcohol and smoking, and exercise daily to increase life expectancy.

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