The benefits are related to a better lifestyle, lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and more mental clarity.
A study by researchers and teachers at Harvard University, and published in the recent edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), draws attention to how easy it would be to live better and more if we only changed some life habits, that is, if we take care of ourselves and do things the right way.
For the experts, and after an analysis of the follow-up data of several years carried out on groups of nurses, doctors and other health personnel, it is clear that with five healthy habits one lives better and reduces the risk of disease. This means that it is possible to have a longer and better life expectancy, free of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
These habits include:
- Never smoke.
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Perform an adequate physical activity.
- Have a moderate alcohol intake.
- Maintain a quality diet at a percentage greater than 40%.
The study carried out by researchers at the prestigious Harvard University started in 1976, when 121,700 nurses, between the ages of 30 and 55, provided information about their styles. of life, his medical history, among other variables related to health. In 1980, 92,468 nurses also completed a questionnaire on the frequency of varied foods, and by 1986, 51,529 health professionals in the United States, between the ages of 40 and 75, completed a questionnaire about their medical history and lifestyle.
In both cases, the questionnaires have been sent every two years to update the information and identify new cases diagnosed with different diseases, as well as to inquire about topics such as diet, exercise, whether they smoked or not, age, ethnicity, use of multivitamins, use regular aspirin, presence or absence of a family history of diabetes or cancer and other data.
Through comparisons over the years and with the collection of data and information from the respondents, it was determined that adherence to low-risk lifestyles was associated with an increase in the life expectancy of 50-year-old participants, free of chronic diseases of more than 7 years in men and 10 years in women, compared to participants without low-risk lifestyle habits.
Exactly, healthy lifestyles are associated with a low risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. According to Yanping Li, principal investigator of the Harvard Nutrition Department, one of the strengths of this study is in having been able to analyze and understand the effects of lifestyle factors on life expectancy free of some of these chronic diseases that today they are so frequent.
Unhealthy habits, such as smoking, being sedentary, having a poor quality of diet and excessive consumption of alcohol, increase the risk of premature death by 60% and cause a decrease of between 7.4 and 17.9 years of expectation of lifetime.
To take into account your healthy lifestyle habits
In its booklet saludables Healthy Habits and Lifestyles ’, the FAO recalls that“ desirable body weight is determined by age, sex, and height. For example, men tend to have a larger bone structure and greater muscle mass than women, and therefore, with similar height, men generally weigh more than women. In general, it is best to achieve and maintain good body weight and avoid extremes of gaining or losing too much weight. ”
To have a clear idea of your situation is the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is obtained by applying the formula weight (kg) / [height (m)] 2, that is, the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared. Since height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide the value in centimeters by 100 to get the height in meters. Example: Weight = 68 kg, Height = 165 cm (1.65 m) BMI calculation: 68 ÷ (1.65) 2 = 24.98, which translates to a normal weight. From 25.0 to 29.9 we talk about being overweight and from 30.0 onwards, obesity.
As for staying active, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children and young people from 5 to 17 years old spend at least 60 minutes a day in moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activities; adults 18 to 64 years old, at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity each week, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities, and adults ages 65 and older should dedicate 150 minutes per week to moderate aerobic physical activity, or some form of vigorous aerobic physical activity for 75 minutes, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
Diet is key to preventing malnutrition in all its forms, as well as the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes and some types of cancer, says the WHO.
A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, legumes (such as lentils and beans), nuts, and whole grains (for example, unprocessed corn, millet, oats, wheat, or brown rice); reducing the consumption of sugars, salt, and saturated fats, among other recommendations.