Proverbs and Idioms about maintaining good health span all ages. Many people stress how health is closely linked to happiness and the ability to live a happy and fulfilling life. This month’s study was published in Age and ageingThe Japan Collaborate Cohort, Osaka University studied the effects of lifestyle changes on life expectancy. Researchers found that people with chronic conditions and individuals over 80 years old could live longer if they adopt five or more healthy lifestyle habits.
Life expectancy depends on socioeconomic status, policy variables such as assisted access for healthcare, and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. The JACC study was used as the baseline for this study. It is a large, multi-year research project that involved 49,021 participants. It was conducted in 45 Japanese areas between 1988 and 1990. The purpose of the questionnaire was to increase our knowledge about factors that contribute to death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. The impact of changing lifestyle behaviors on life expectancy was evaluated and points were awarded for each healthy behavior.
The study was completed until December 2009, when 8966 people had died. Dr. Ryoto Sakaniwa was the primary author of the study. He stated, “The results were very obvious. Both men and women had great longevity if they engaged in more healthy behaviors. For healthy 40-year olds, the lifetime gains were greatest for reducing alcohol intake, not consuming, losing weight, increasing sleep, and increasing your overall health. This adds up to 6 years of living.
This benefit was even more evident in older individuals (80+) and people with one or more major chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Prof. Hiroyasu Iso, senior researcher, said that this was a significant finding as chronic disease has been increasing worldwide and is a major cause for death in older people. This is the first study to assess the impact of changes in health behavior on older people in a country where the national life expectancy is almost 85 years.
Given the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and longer life expectancy, the finding that lifestyle changes have a positive impact upon health is a powerful one. This study will help to design future healthcare systems, public health approaches, policies, and partnerships with patients to promote healthy lifestyle choices.
Healthy habits in middle-age are linked to a longer, disease-free life
The impact of a modifiable healthy lifestyle on life expectancy from middle age to old age Age And Ageing (2022). DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afac080
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