Healthy lifestyles add life to years: New research shows that people aged 50-75 years who have a healthy lifestyle have more years in good health

An international study carried out within the IDEAR network has provided new evidence about the beneficial role of healthy lifestyles on aging. Researchers followed 74 000 people aged 50 and older from Finland, Sweden, England and France over several years. Between the ages of 50 and 75, people who did not smoke, who were physically active and who had a healthy weight lived 6–8 years longer in good health and without chronic diseases compared to those who had two or more unhealthy lifestyle behaviours. Out of these individual risk factors, physical inactivity was associated with the greatest reduction in healthy years and obesity with greatest reduction in years free from chronic disease.

The lead author Dr. Sari Stenholm from the University of Turku, Finland, comments that examining healthy years is important because the quality of the years is more important than the number of years lived:

Many chronic diseases develop with advancing age, but with a healthy lifestyle one can markedly increase the number of healthy years, says Stenholm.


Further information:

Dr. Sari Stenholm, University of Turku, Finland


The article has been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology:

Stenholm S, Head J, Kivimäki M, Kawachi I, Aalto V, Zins M, Goldberg M, Zaninotto P, Magnuson Hanson L, Westerlund H, Vahtera J. Smoking, physical inactivity and obesity as predictors of healthy and disease-free life expectancy between ages 50 and 75: a multicohort study. Int J Epidemiology 2016.

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