People can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors - not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol - according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.During the study period, people who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 63 percent less likely to die early, compared to people who did not practice any of the behaviors. Not smoking provided the most protection from dying from all of the causes examined. "If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors- not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, and avoiding excessive alcohol use," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 66 percent less likely to die early from cancer, 65 percent less likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent less likely to die early from other causes compared to people who did not engage in any of the healthy behaviors. The study, "Low Risk Lifestyle Behaviors and All-Cause Mortality: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study," was published online by the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers defined low-risk health behaviors as never smoking, eating a healthy diet, moderate intensity or vigorous intensity physical activity, and moderate alcohol consumption. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should drink no more than two drinks per day; women, one drink per day. Among people in the CDC study, 47.5 percent had never smoked, 51 percent were moderate drinkers, 39.3 percent had a healthy diet, and 40.2 percent were adequately physically active. The percentage of people who reported low-risk behaviors did not differ significantly by gender. Mexican-Americans had more healthy behaviors compared to whites and African-Americans.
********** Published: August 25, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 19