A study in 2020 by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found a connection between healthy habits and life expectancy. It was a massive study which used data from Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) which involved
over 120,000 participants, and collected data over the course of 34 years.
The 5 chosen healthy habits were defined and measured as per below:
- Healthy diet, which was calculated and rated based on the reported intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.
- Healthy physical activity level, which was measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.
- Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Smoking, well, there is no healthy amount of smoking. “Healthy” here meant never having smoked.
- Moderate alcohol intake, Non-Muslim should limit or stop their alcohol intake. More details here.
The study found that participants who adopted these 5 healthy habits (by the time they reached 50 years old) lived significantly longer lives, 14 years for women and 12 years for men! Moreover, adopting just one of the 5 habits increased life expectancy by 2 years for
men and women!
It is plain to see that adopting healthier habits can help us live longer lives. Simple changes such as switching from sugary beverages to healthier drinks like tea or picking up a daily exercise routine can become part of our lives but we have to start as soon as we can. Let us all make an effort to adopt these healthy habits and enjoy a few more years of precious memories over a cup of tea.
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