Bad habits cut 12 years off life

2010-04-27 14:16
Washington - A killer quartet of unhealthy behaviours - smoking, drinking, poor diet and inactivity - can slash the average life span by 12 years, but lifestyle changes can help stem the damage, researchers have discovered.

Individuals who engaged in all four high-risk behaviours suffered three times the death rate for cancer and heart disease, and four times the death rate from other causes, as people who engaged in none of the behaviours, according to research published in Monday's issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers studied 4 886 people 18 or older in 1984 and 1985, and assigned a health behaviour score for each person based on their participation in the bad behaviours: a score of four for someone who engaged in all four unhealthy habits, and zero for people who did none of them.

In essence, the higher the score, the shorter the average lifespan, according to the authors.

Over an average 20 years of follow-up, 1 080 of the participants died - 431 from cardiovascular disease, 318 from cancer and 331 from other causes.

Compared with participants who had none of the poor health practices, the risk of death increased with each additional poor behaviour, the authors wrote.

Individual and combined effect

A person with a score of four has "an overall death risk equivalent to being 12 years older" than someone who engages in none of the poor behaviours, the study said.

"To fully understand the public health impact of these behaviours, it is necessary to examine both their individual and combined impact on health outcomes," said Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo, one of the study's authors.

The behaviours were determined as: smoking; eating fruits and vegetables less than three times per day; engaging in less than two hours of physical activity per week; and drinking more than 4.2 ounces of alcohol per week for women, and 6.3 ounces for men.

Cutting back or ending these behaviours could add years to one's life, the study said.

"Modest but achievable adjustments to lifestyle behaviours are likely to have a considerable impact at both the individual and population level," the authors said.

"Developing more efficacious methods by which to promote healthy diets and lifestyles across the population should be an important priority of public health policy."
 

Read more on:    health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.