Researchers have identified eight habits that could see people live more than 20 years longer.
The study found that low physical activity, opioid use, and smoking had the biggest impact on lifespan, and were associated with around a 30-45 per cent higher risk of death.
While stress, binge drinking, poor diet, and poor sleep hygiene were each associated with around a 20 per cent increase in the risk of death.
And a lack of positive social relationships was associated with a 5 per cent increased risk of dying.
The findings were presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition being held in Boston.
The research that looked at lifestyle habits used data from medical records and questionnaires collected between 2011-2019 from 719,147 people enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program.
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It found that men who have all eight habits at age 40 would be predicted to live an average of 24 years longer than men with none of these habits, and for women an additional 21 years.
Xuan-Mai Nguyen, health science specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs and rising fourth-year medical student at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, USA, said: “We were really surprised by just how much could be gained with the adoption of one, two, three, or all eight lifestyle factors.
“Our research findings suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for both public health and personal wellness.
“The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, it still is beneficial.”
The researchers say their findings, which have not been peer-reviewed, highlight the role of lifestyle factors in contributing to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease that lead to premature disability and death.
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