THURSDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy lifestyle helps
you live longer, a new U.S. study confirms.
Researchers looked at long-term data from Americans aged 17 and
older and found that those who embraced four healthy behaviors --
not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical
activity and avoiding excessive alcohol use -- were 63 percent less
likely to die early from any cause than those with none of those
Not smoking offered the most protection from dying young.
Compared to those who didn't engage in any of the healthy
behaviors, those who practiced all four healthy habits were 66
percent less likely to die early from cancer, 65 percent less
likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent
less likely to die early from other causes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers
said that 47.5 percent of the people in the study had never smoked,
51 percent were moderate drinkers (no more than two drinks per day
for men and one drink per day for women), 40.2 percent got enough
physical activity, and 39.3 percent had a healthy diet.
Rates of healthy behaviors were about the same for men and
women. Mexican-Americans had more healthy behaviors than whites or
The findings are from an analysis of data in the CDC's National
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study, which
included people recruited from 1988 to 1994 and followed through
The study is published online Aug. 18 in the
American Journal of Public Health.
While studies show that only a small percentage of Americans
have adopted all four of these healthy behaviors, the number of
smokers has decreased significantly, the researchers noted in a CDC
Health care providers and public health officials should
encourage people to adopt these healthy behaviors, the researchers
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers tips for
healthy children and families.