A recent published population based study from Sweden on the correlation of a healthy life style and lifespan has shown that living a healthy life style into old age can ultimately add up to five years to women’s lives and up to six years to men’s.
It is well known that various lifestyle factors, such as being overweight, a smoker, or a heavy drinker equates early death among elderly people, but is it uncertain as to whether these association are still applicable to those aged 75 years or older.
The study involved over 1,800 individuals who were each monitored for the next 18 years from 1987 to 2005. All the data on their age, sex, occupation, education, lifestyle, leisure activities, and social networks were recorded. In the following 18 years, 92% of the participants died, but unexpectedly, half of the participants lived longer than 90 years.
The survivors had many similarities such as being highly educated, leading healthy lifestyles, having better social networks, participating in numerous leisure activities. However, the only difference was that the survivors were more likely to be women than men.
Continuous smoking also had a noticeable effect on the elderly’s lifespans. The results showed that smokers on average, died one year earlier than non-smokers. The results also suggested that quitting smoking during the middle ages reduces the effect on the mortality, since the former smokers had similar patterns of survival as never-smokers.
Another impactful factor was leisure activities. The average life span of the participants who regularly swan, walked, or did other physical activity lived two years greater than those who did not. The physical activates were most strongly associated with survival.
On average, those with a low risk profile (healthy lifestyle, participation in leisure activities, and moderate social network) lived 5.4 years longer than those with a high risk profile (unhealthy lifestyle, no participation in leisure activit, and poor social network. In the end, the enacting of favorable lifestyles, even during the people’s elderly years, may enhance their life expectancy.