Healthy habits increase years free of cancer, diabetes, heart problem


Study has found that women and men who live a healthy lifestyle could gain 10 and seven years free of cancer, heart problems and type-2 diabetes respectively.

The study state that these women and men are those who must exercise regularly, drink in moderation, have a healthy weight, good diet and avoid smoking.

The research carried out in the United States is based on 111,000 people tracked for more than 20 years.

According to the Lead author, Dr. Frank Hu, of Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, the study had a positive message for the public, noting that they not only gain more years of life but good years through improved lifestyle choices.

Explaining the healthy lifestyle, Dr. Hu said at the age of 50, the study participants were asked if they met at least four of the five criteria, which are: “never smoking, a healthy balanced diet, 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity every day, a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9, no more alcohol than a small glass of wine a day for women and a pint of beer for men”

According to Hu, women who said they met four out of five lived an average of another 34 years free of cancer, cardiovascular disease (such as heart attack and stroke) and type-2 diabetes – more than 10 years longer than those who did not.

He said for healthy men, it meant another 31 years of disease-free life – more than seven years extra than unhealthy men could expect.

The reason for the difference between women and men, the study found, was linked to the fact women live longer than men on average, adding that men who smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day and obese men and women (with a BMI of more than 30) had the lowest disease-free life expectance.

According to the study, not only did a healthy lifestyle reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, it also improved survival if men and women were diagnosed with any of the diseases.

“The benefits add up for men and women,” Dr Hu said.

Cancer, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes are three of the most common diseases in old age. They are also closely linked to people’s lifestyles.

Being obese or overweight, for example, is thought to be linked to 13 different types of cancers, including breast, bowel, kidney, liver, and esophagus, according to study.