People who drink moderately, exercise, quit smoking and eat five servings of
fruit and vegetables each day live on average 14 years longer than people who
adopt none of these behaviors, researchers said on

Overwhelming evidence
has shown that these things contribute to healthier and longer lives, but the
new study actually quantified their combined impact, the British team

"These results may
provide further support for the idea that even small differences in lifestyle
may make a big difference to health in the population and encourage behavior
change," the researchers

Between 1993 and 1997 the
researchers questioned 20,000 healthy British men and women about their
lifestyles. They also tested every participant’s blood to measure vitamin
C intake, an indicator of how much fruit and vegetables people ate. Then they
assigned the participants – aged 45-79 – a score of between 0 and 4, giving one
point for each of the healthy

After allowing for
age and other factors that could affect the likelihood of dying, the researchers
determined people with a score of 0 were four times as likely to have died,
particularly from cardiovascular

The researchers, who
tracked deaths among the participants until 2006, also said a person with a
health score of 0 had the same risk of dying as someone with a health score of 4
who was 14 years older.

lifestyle change with the biggest benefit was giving up smoking, which led to an
80% improvement in health, the study found. This was followed by eating fruits
and vegetables.

drinking and keeping active brought the same benefits, Kay-Tee Khaw and
colleagues at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council

"Armed with this
information, public-health officials should now be in a better position to
encourage behavior changes likely to improve the health of middle-aged and
older people," the researchers wrote.

Via Times of India