ATLANTA, Aug. 21 (UPI) — U.S. adults can reduce their odds of dying prematurely if they adopt four healthy lifestyle behaviors, including quitting smoking, health officials say.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta came to that conclusion after analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study, a follow-up of NHANES III survey participants age 17 and older recruited from 1988 to 1994 and followed through 2006.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found people who engaged in all four healthy behaviors — not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and limiting alcohol — were 63 percent less likely to die early, compared with people who did not practice any of the behaviors.
However, not smoking provided the most protection from dying of all the causes examined, the study says.
“If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors — not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy and avoiding excessive alcohol use — no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a statement.
People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 66 percent less likely to die early of cancer, 65 percent less likely to die early of cardiovascular disease and 57 percent less likely to die early of other causes compared with people who did not engage in any of the healthy behaviors, the study found.