Healthy habits could add EIGHT YEARS to your life: Exercising regularly and not smoking can have a dramatic effect on your lifespan… even if you have a chronic illness, study shows
- A study on 480,000 adults showed that a healthy lifestyle could add years to life even in those with chronic illnesses
- Not smoking , exercising, a healthy diet and not drinking alcohol are the biggest factors associated with the largest health boost
- Scientists from Leicester university found smokers had an estimated five to six years shorter life expectancy compared to non-smokers
Not smoking and exercising regularly can add six to eight years to life – even in those with chronic illnesses, a study has found.
Not smoking is associated with the largest health boost, followed by exercising, a healthy diet and not drinking alcohol, scientists from Leicester university found.
The study looked at 480,000 adults from the UK Biobank – a database of the genetic and health information of over half a million people – and tracked them for at least six years. They assessed the presence of 36 chronic conditions and whether a healthy lifestyle impacted life expectancy.
Not smoking is associated with the largest health boost, study shows
A chronic illness was defined as a long-term physical or mental health condition including cancer, dementia, asthma, diabetes, heart failure and anxiety. Researchers scored participants on how much they exercised and drank, whether they smoked and how healthy their diet was before rating their overall healthiness.
They also took into account ethnicity, working status and body mass index.
In men with two or more chronic conditions, a ‘very healthy’ score was linked to living for an extra 6.3 years. A ‘healthy’ score could add 4.5 years. ‘Very healthy’ women could expect to gain up to 7.6 years, and 6.4 years for ‘healthy’.
At 45 years old, smokers had an estimated five to six years shorter life expectancy compared to non-smokers.
The scientists say their findings, published in Plos Medicine, suggest adopting a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of long-term illnesses can benefit those who already have chronic conditions.
Yogini Chudasama, lead author of the study, said: ‘More individuals are living with multiple chronic conditions, impacting their health and daily lives.
‘With access to a UK dataset of over 450,000 adults we were able to investigate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in people with multiple illnesses.
‘We found a healthy lifestyle, in particular abstinence from smoking, increases life expectancy by as much as seven years.
‘Our study has important implications for the public’s health, as we hope our findings have shown it’s never too late to make vital lifestyle changes.’