The beginning of each year is a good time to set ourselves new healthy, realistic and achievable goals. Stopping smoking, eating foods that help us to preserve our health, taking up a new sport or resuming physical activity, drinking less alcohol…
Recent published studies show that people who acquire or who have health life habits, may live as many as seven years or more compared to the general population. In short, it’s possible to spend that last part of these additional years with greater or lesser quality of life.
Tania Mesa – Director of Neolife’s Nutrition and Nursing Unit
Alejandro Monzó – Neolife Nutrition and Nursing Unit
Various negative behaviors or lifestyles have a cumulative impact
After some excesses over the Holidays, it’s useful to set new goals that allow us to lead a healthy life, as long as we take care with our diet, take physical exercise we stop smoking adopt an optimistic attitude to the difficulties of life.
A key determinant of the health of the population is people’s types of lifestyles. A study published by Health Affairs (1), undertaken by the director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, Mikko Myrskylä and by the assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan, Neil Mehta, analyzed the data or more than fourteen thousand individuals in the United States. As results, it found that non-smokers with a healthy weight who consumed a moderate amount of alcohol lived between seven years or more than the general population. Moreover, it shows that almost 80% of Americans reach the age of fifty with some bad habits: they smoke, they have high rates of obesity, they drink alcohol daily or they have unhealthy habits in general.
The researchers observed that each of these unhealthy habits (obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption) are directly related with a reduction in life expectancy and the earlier appearance of illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, among others. These results give us an objective view of the importance of having a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness of that.
On the other hand, another study also shows similar results to the previous one. The Harvard researchers Chan, et al., made an exhaustive study of the impact of the adoption of lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the United States (2).
Data from eighty thousand women was analyzed over 34 years and data from forty-four thousand men corresponding to 27 years. The researchers analyzed five low-risk lifestyle factors (not smoking, having a body mass index in the normal range, doing 30 minutes or more of moderate to intense physical activity per day, moderate alcohol consumption, having a healthy diet) that could affect mortality. As results (fig. 1), women who followed had healthy habits gained, on average, 14 years of life, and men who did so gained 12 years, in comparison with those who did not have healthy habits.
Therefore, both studies underline the importance of having healthy lifestyles to improve longevity and our quality of life. Unfortunately, often adherence to acquiring these habits is very low, be it due to excuses, lack of time or motivation. That’s why a new year means a new opportunity, an opportunity that amounts to beginning the year with healthy habits and thus extending our life expectancy with greater quality of life.
At the beginning of this process, our goals must fulfil two fundamental requirements to prevent failures: to be achievable and realistic. Our recommendations and advice to be able to achieve your goals are as follows:
- Getting back into our routine and habits, leaving behind the excessive of the Christmas season.
- We are reliant on ourselves to be aware of our health.
- We need to take responsible decisions, the essential thing is our attitude.
- We must pay special attention to our diet. We are what we eat, and a diet rich in foods of plant origin and few processed foods is a basic guideline.
- Any healthy change will bring us benefits.
- Resuming physical activity that we enjoyed, or deciding to begin a new exercise routine, will give us energy and vitality.
- Giving up smoking and consuming alcohol.
- It’s important to rest properly, since a lack of sleep can greatly interfere in our daily routine.
At Neolife, our fundamental goal is the prevention of illnesses and the acquisition of this type of habits. We would like to accompany you on this journey so that you can achieve the best version of you.
(1) Mehta N. & Myrskylä, M. 2017; 9:1–12. “The Population Health Benefits Of A Healthy Lifestyle: Life Expectancy Increased And Onset Of Disability Delayed”.Health Affairs, 36 (8). https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1569
(2) Li Y., Pan A., Wang DD., Liu X. et al. (2018). “Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population”. Circulation 138;129: 345-355. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047