Practicing one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol may lead to people living longer, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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.
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.
The study is called Low Risk Lifestyle Behaviors and All-Cause Mortality: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study. It is published online by the American Journal of Public Health.
For this report, researchers analyzed data from the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III Mortality Study, a mortality follow up of NHANES III survey participants aged 17 years and older who were recruited from 1988 to 1994 and followed through 2006.
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.
And, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should drink no more than two drinks per day. Women should have one drink per day.
Among the 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.
The percentage of people who reported low-risk behaviors didn't differ significantly by gender, and Mexican-Americans had more healthy behaviors compared to whites and African-Americans, according to the CDC.
The researchers also found that people who engaged in all four healthy behaviors 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 compared to people who didn't take part in any of the healthy behaviors.