Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can actually make you look 10 years younger! According to a recent study conducted at the University of Zurich, a healthy diet, staying active, and abstaining from alcohol and tobacco can have significant effects on the ageing process. It is the first time that the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle can be depicted in numbers. An individual who fails to maintain a healthy lifestyle with poor diet, alcohol and tobacco consumption has a 2.5 fold higher mortality risk than an individual with a healthy lifestyle.
The study shows that personal behavior and unhealthy lifestyle habits play a significant role in raising risk of cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Brian Martin and his colleagues from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at Zurich have examined the effects of smoking, drinking, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity - both individual and combined - on life expectancy.
"A healthy lifestyle can help you stay ten years' younger," said lead author Eva Martin Diener.
For the study, researchers used data from the Swiss National Cohort (SNC). They focused on cardiovascular disorders and which cause maximum deaths in Switzerland. The researchers succeeded in correlating data on tobacco consumption, fruit consumption, physical activity and alcohol consumption from 16,721 participants aged between 16 and 90 from 1977 to 1993 with the corresponding deaths up to 2008.
"The effect of each individual factor on life expectancy is relatively high," said Martin-Diener. But smoking seems to be the most harmful. Compared with a group of non-smokers, smokers have a 57 per cent higher risk of dying prematurely. The impact of an unhealthy diet, not enough sport and alcohol abuse results in an elevated mortality risk of around 15 per cent for each factor, researchers warned.
"We were very surprised by the 2.5 fold higher risk when all four risk factors are combined," said Martin..
Inputs from PTI