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Health Quartet

February 5, 2008

Researchers identify four health habits that correlate with a longer lifespan.


A four-point plan for longevity. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Four simple health habits may add fourteen years to your lifespan. This according to a new report by University of Cambridge epidemiologist Kay-Tee Khaw and her colleagues. They tracked twenty thousand people over more than a decade. Each person was given a health score of zero to 4, earning a point each for not smoking, eating five fruits or vegetables per day, exercising, and drinking moderate alcohol.

KAY-TEE KHAW (University of Cambridge):
We were trying to quantify health behaviors that were actually being undertaken by people living their ordinary, everyday lives. This wasn’t an intervention study; we just simply assessed what people were doing every day.

People with all four healthy habits lived fourteen years longer, on average, than people with none. The effect was independent of economic class and even body mass index, a measure of obesity. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.