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Lifespan increased by '14 years'

8th January 2008

A study has shown that people who take exercise, drink moderately, do not smoke and eat healthily can expect to add "up to 14 years" to their lifespans.

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The research revealed that people who did not manage any of the healthy living options were "four times more likely" to die than those who did.

The Public Library of Science Medicine study involved research performed by by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council in Norfolk during 1993-2006.

The study had 20,000 participants between the ages of 45 and 79, who were predominately white and did not have cancer or heart disease.

The study gave a point to those participants if they did not smoke, drank only 1-14 units of alcohol each week, took exercise and ate five portions of fruit or vegetable daily.

The researchers found that the participants who scored four points had a reduced risk of dying during the study compared to those with no points. In addition they saw that a person aged 60 who had no points had an equivalent danger of dying as a person aged 74 with four points.

"We've know that individually, measures such as not smoking and exercising can have an impact upon longevity, but this is the first time we have looked at them altogether," said Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, who headed the study.

"It means a large proportion of the population really could feel health benefits through moderate changes."


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