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Healthy Lifestyle Impact on Life Expectancies

Circulation; ePub 2018 Apr 30; Li, Pan, et al

Adoption of a healthy lifestyle by US adults could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy, a recent study found. Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2014; n=78,865) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2014; n=44,354), researchers defined 5 low-risk lifestyle factors as never smoking, body mass index (BMI) of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2, ≥30 min/day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, moderate alcohol intake, and a high diet quality score. They then estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for the association of total lifestyle scores (0-5 scale) with mortality. They found:

  • During up to 34 years of follow-up, 42,167 deaths were documented.
  • The multivariable-adjusted HRs for mortality in adults with 5 vs 0 low-risk factors were 0.26 for all-cause mortality, 0.35 for cancer mortality, and 0.18 for cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.
  • The population-attributable risk of nonadherence to 5 low-risk factors was 60.7% for all-cause mortality, 51.7% for cancer mortality, and 71.7% for CVD mortality.
  • Life expectancy at age 50 years was estimated at 29.0 years for women and 25.5 years for men who adopted 0 low-risk lifestyle factors.
  • In contrast, those who adopted all 5 low-risk factors had a projected life expectancy at age 50 years of 43.1 years for women and 37.6 years for men.


Li Y, Pan A, Wang DD, et al. Impact of healthy lifestyle factors on life expectancies in the US population. [Published online ahead of print April 30, 2018]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047.