Indulging in four unhealthy behaviors ages the average individual by 12 years

It is generally understood that being inactive, eating poorly, smoking, and drinking too much are bad – very bad – for your health. Now, a newly published study assesses and quantifies those behaviors. In short, “combine all of the above and you’ll end up seeming 12 years older than people your age who do none of the above.”

That assertion is based on a study in which investigators “tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years,” the AP reports.

“Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors.” That is, they smoked tobacco, had “more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women,” attained “less than two hours of physical activity per week; and” ate “fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily.”

As a result, they “were 3.49 times more likely to die over the course of the study than their countrymen (and women) who practiced clean living,” the Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” reported.

“That included a 3.14 times greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease; a 3.35 times greater risk of death from cancer; and a 4.29 times greater risk of death form any other cause.”

Conversely, “96% of those with healthy behaviors were alive at the end of the study, compared with 85% of those with the worst health habits,” according to the data in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Lead investigator Elisabeth Kvaavik, PhD, of the University of Oslo, also pointed out that “also having, for instance, two poor and two healthy behaviors, doubles the risk of dying compared to having only healthy behaviors,” the CNN blog “Paging Dr. Gupta” reported.

Still, “modestly changing behaviors can have a big health impact.”

In fact, such modifications “‘are likely to have a considerable impact at both the individual and population level,’ the study authors write,” according to a report from Medscape.

Thus, “developing more efficacious methods by which to promote healthy diets and lifestyles across the population should be an important priority of public health policy.”

More than that, it shoud be an important priority for you and your family.

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