Despite the fact that the United States has a huge budget allotted on healthcare, it still has low life expectancies among developed nations.
Is it possible that we in the healthcare industry might be mistaken for quite some time now?
Impact of Health Habits on Life Expectancy
To know the impact of health habits on life expectancy, a study using data gathered from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) was conducted massively by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This study involved a huge number of people gathered from separate studies. From 1980 to 2014, more than 78,000 women were observed by NHS and above 40,000 men were followed by HPFS since 1986 until 2014.
Through the systematic administration of standardized questionnaires, data on alcohol consumption, physical activity, smoking, body weight, and diet were obtained by researchers from HPFS and NHS.
What does it take to have a healthy lifestyle?
Having a huge impact on the risk of premature deaths, these five things were closely monitored and measured to define the ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle. The following are given below:
- Having a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Stop smoking.
- Drink alcohol moderately.
Is a healthy lifestyle beneficial?
One may not see its value but having healthy habits is very important. People who followed these five ways lived longer than those who haven’t. According to the study, men and women lived 12 years and 14 years longer, respectively, given that they have started practicing these habits when they were 50 years old. Those who haven’t had those habits suffered from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or premature death.
Furthermore, a study was also conducted stating that people who apply even just one of those five habits are expected to extend their life expectancy by two years for both men and women. With this, people who practice more healthy habits tend live longer.
A similar research in 2017 also states that people above 50 who never tried smoking, who moderately drink alcohol and have maintained a normal body weight had an extension of seven years in their life expectancy. Another study in 2012 stated that unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, being obesite, having a poor diet, being inactive, and drinking alcohol excessively contributed to more than half of the premature deaths reported.
So, what now?
The thing is, the U.S. had focused on the development of various drugs and ways to treat diseases, yet they never invest on preventing them instead.
A change in lifestyle and healthy does not occur overnight. Sometimes, it takes a nationwide effort and public health policies to be implemented. While this may be the goal, this can be very challenging. If such habits will be promoted, a lot of companies would shut down such as fast food chains or soda factories.
So the question is… what now?