This week the Archives of Internal Medicine published the results of a 20-year lifestyle study on 4886 people in the UK between 1985 and 2005. The study compared mortality rates among the group and analyzed longevity’s relationship to behavior. The study compared people that had various bad behaviors- allocating 1 point for: 1) smoking; 2) not eating enough fruits and vegetables consumed; 3) getting less than 2 hours physical activity per week; and 4) drinking more than 14 ounces of alcohol (in women) and 21 ounces (in men).
During the study period, people with 1 bad behavior were 1.85 times more likely to die than those with all good behaviors, people with 2 bad behaviors were 2.23 more likely to die, people with 3 were 2.76 times more likely, and people with 4 bad behaviors were 3.49 X more likely to perish during the study. People that had 4 bad behaviors had a mortality risk equivalent to being 12 years older (than the good behavior group).
The study concluded that “The combined effect of poor health behaviors on mortality was substantial, indicating that modest, but sustained, improvements to diet and lifestyle could have significant public health benefits.”… but you already knew that, didn’t you.