Researchers say people can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors based on findings from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III Mortality Study performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study, published online by the American Journal of Public Health, is called Low-Risk Lifestyle Behaviors and All-Cause Mortality, and people can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors, not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol.
If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors -- not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, and avoiding excessive alcohol use, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC.
For this report, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III Mortality Study with participants aged 17 years and older who were recruited from 1988 to 1994 and followed through 2006.
The CDC found that people who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 63 percent less likely to die early when compared to people who didn't practice any of the behaviors.
Not smoking provided the most protection from dying from all of the causes examined, the CDC found.
The researchers defined low-risk health behaviors as never smoking, eating a healthy diet, moderate intensity or vigorous intensity physical activity, and moderate alcohol consumption.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should drink no more than two drinks per day; women, one drink per day.
Among participants in the CDC study, 47.5 percent had never smoked, 51 percent were moderate drinkers, 39.3 percent had a healthy diet, and 40.2 percent were adequately physically active.
CDC officials said, the percentage of people who reported low-risk behaviors did not differ significantly by gender, and that Mexican Americans had more healthy behaviors compared to whites and African Americans.