Right after residency training, I knew there had to be more to medicine than what I was taught. I simply didn’t believe in the “sick” model that informs American medicine. And I have my family to thank for that. They’re the ones who always emphasized that, if you live a healthy lifestyle, good health follows.
Well, I recently came across an incredible study that proves exactly that point. It shows, definitively, that a healthier life leads to a longer life. And I’m not talking by an extra week, either—I’m talking years.
Five keys to a longer life
These researchers looked at data from more than 73,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health study between 1980 and 2014. Along with data from more than 38,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up study, recruited during the same time period.
They generated healthy lifestyle scores for each participant based on five key factors:
- Diet (according to the Alternate Healthy Eating Index)
- Smoking (never smoked vs. former or current smoker)
- More than 30 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous exercise
- Moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink daily for women, two for men)
- A body mass index (BMI) in the normal range (18.5 to 24.9)
Participants’ healthy lifestyle scores ranged from 0 to 5, based on where they fell in the above categories. And needless to say, these scores mattered… a lot.
At the age of 50, higher scores raised life expectancy from 81.7 years to 91.1 years in women. And from 81.3 years to 89.3 years in men. (Yes… that’s years. Nearly ten of them, to be exact.)
And the scores affected quality of life, too. Among women leading a healthy lifestyle, life expectancy without heart disease, cancer or diabetes jumped by more than a decade (10.7 years to be exact). In men, it increased by over 7 years.
Cancer-free life expectancy went up more than eight years in women, and six years in men. And diabetes-free life expectancy? Well, that jumped a whopping 12.3 years in women, and 10.3 years in men.
Getting the message out
On the other side of the spectrum, male smokers and obese men and women suffered the lowest life expectancy.
So, you’re probably wondering the same thing I am right now. Why aren’t we doing more to promote a healthy lifestyle? Our efforts need to be aggressive—and yet, we can’t even get the powers-that-be to start taxing sugary drinks.
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times: The only way that change is going to happen is if our public policies get serious about not only improving the food supply, but by making it easier for the American people to live the kind of lifestyle that’s going to keep them healthy.
Smoking bans made a major difference in this fight—but we must do more. Because while life expectancy may be increasing, without relevant change, the burden of chronic disease is only going get heavier.
I outlined five simple things you can do to live longer, and healthier—starting today—in this discussion alone. But if we invested good time and money into getting this message out to the population, just imagine how many additional healthy years we all could have.
Until then, there’s nothing stopping you from reaping the benefits of an effective longevity strategy. In fact, I’m currently working on a comprehensive, step-by-step protocol that will give you details on all of the most effective, cutting-edge, life-extending recommendations I give to my own patients. You’ll be the first to know when it’s ready, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I recently outlined three simple ways to add decades onto your life in the January 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“New Year’s resolutions you can count on for years to come”). Subscribers have access to this and all of my past content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today!
“Healthy Lifestyle Adds Up to a Decade More of Disease-Free Life.” Medscape Medical News, 01/08/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/923535)