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5 Low-Risk Lifestyle Factors That Promote Longevity

February 01, 2022

At age 98, comedian George Burns famously joked, "If I'd taken my doctor's advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn't have lived to go to his funeral.”1 

It’s probably safe to say that Burns is the exception to the rule when it comes to lifestyle behaviors that promote longevity. Or, at least, that’s the conclusion reached by Harvard University research scientists after studying the lifestyle behaviors of 123,219 patients over a period of 34 years. The study concluded that patients with all five of the following low-risk lifestyle factors lived more than a decade longer, on average, than their peers:2  

  1. Never smoked
  2. Exercised for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to vigorous level (including brisk walking)
  3. Maintained a normal body mass index
  4. Ate a healthy diet
  5. Consumed a moderate level of alcohol, defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men

The benefits to following these factors are huge. Specifically, the researchers found that 50-year-old women who engaged in all five low-risk factors lived to an average age of 93.1 years, 14 years longer than women who adopted none. Men at age 50 who had adopted all five low-risk factors lived to an average age of 87.6, or 12.2 years longer than men who had none. Findings indicate that while chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are the most common and costly of all health problems, they’re largely preventable.2  

So, while the late, great George Burns may have defied the odds, science points to the adoption of healthier lifestyle behaviors as a safer bet for those seeking to live longer, healthier lives and keep high healthcare costs in check in retirement. 

For more information on managing healthcare costs and income in retirement, contact the office to schedule an appointment.