Healthcast: Add a decade to your life

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - 78.6. That is the number of years the average American can expect to live to, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But a new study out of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health finds that adopting some healthy lifestyle through adulthood can add a decade more to your life.

Did you know that Americans have a shorter average life span than almost any other high-income country? We rank 43rd in the world for life expectancy. Harvard researchers studied 34 years of data from over 78,000 women and 27 years of data from 44,000 men to find what could boost longevity in the U.S.

Jose Santana, MD, MPH, an internal medicine physician told Ivanhoe, “We learned that we can focus more on personal habits; personal habits, which include lifestyle.”

Lifestyle habits that can add years to your life: not smoking, having a low body mass index, doing 30 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, moderate alcohol intake and a healthy diet.

“Something that is well-balanced, where there’s plenty of natural foods, plenty of vegetables,” detailed Dr. Santana.

Men who adopted all five healthy lifestyles added 12 years to their life, while women who did the same added 14 years, compared to those who didn’t maintain healthy habits. The study also found that both men and women who stuck with these healthy lifestyles were 82 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 65 percent less likely to die from cancer. More proof that healthy habits lead to a longer, healthier life.

According to the CDC, the average life expectancy for men is 76.1 years. That’s lower than the national average. The average life expectancy for women is slightly better at 81.1.

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