Monday, January 30, 2012

Age 12 More Years Simply Through Bad Habits by Dr. A. R. Scopelliti

Recent research on healthy aging proves that poor habits such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, can age you by 12 extra years. The findings are from a recent study that monitored nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, aged 18 and older and 44 years old on average, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy habits. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29%. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8%. “Bad habits” are said to include: smoking tobacco, drinking in excess of 3 alcoholic drinks daily for men, two for women, engaging in less than two hours of physical activity per week, and consuming fruits and vegetables less than 3 times daily. These cumulative habits substantially increased the risk of death and made people in this group appear twelve years older than people in the healthiest group. The most common causes of death in the study included heart disease and cancer, both believed to be related to unhealthy lifestyles. The study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The healthy group included individuals who did not meet the criterion for “bad habits”.

It should be possible for most people to manage meeting the healthy test group’s habits, and further, each step in this direction reaps rewards of better health. The federal government generally recommends at least 4 cups of fruits or vegetables daily for adults, depending on age and activity level; and about two and 1/2 hours of exercise weekly, which equates to thirty minutes daily five days a week.

In a separate US study, no progress appears to be being made with respect to changing “unhealthy habits”. The rates at which Americans take part in exercise remains unchanged since 1997. We are a long way from where the health experts want us to be with respect to smoking. Overall, about 66% of adults in America are either overweight or obese. About one-third of people are in the obese category, meaning they have a body mass index of 30 or greater. In yet another AmericanUS study, extremely obese people, those who are eithy or more pounds overweight, live three to twelve fewer years than their normal-weight peers.