London, Oct 23: Those who wish to make the most of life at 40 must quit smoking, not drink too much alcohol, eat more fruits and vegetables and work out, a study suggests.
Researchers were looking at what impact certain good habits could have on achieving a healthy old age over a 16-year period.
This was defined as someone aged 60 or over who had good mobility and mental health and didn’t suffer from any chronic diseases.
A study of more than 5,000 people aged from 42 to 63 revealed individual behaviours such as staying active, had a small benefit.
However, study leader Dr Siverine Sabia, from the University College London, said that their “study shows the cumulative impact of healthy behaviours on successful ageing – the greater the number of healthy behaviours, the greater the benefit.”
Those who were active, ate their greens, didn’t smoke and limited their alcohol had the best chance of enjoying a sprightly old age.
Participants who engaged in all four behaviours had more than triple the chance of enjoying a healthy old age compared with those who engaged in none, the Daily mail reported.
The British and French study looked at the records of 5,100 men and women who did not have cancer, heart disease or stroke in the assessment phase during 1991-1994.
Those still alive were then re-assessed in 2007-2009. Of the total participants, 549 had died during follow-up, 953 were classified as successfully ageing while the remaining people aged normally.
Successful agers were more likely to have a higher education than the normally ageing group – 32 percent against 24 percent – and 18 percent in the deceased group.
In the study population, five percent of people did not engage in any of the four healthy behaviours.
“Although individual healthy behaviours are moderately associated with successful ageing, their combined impact is quite substantial,” Dr Sabia said.
“Multiple healthy behaviours appear to increase the chance of reaching old age disease-free and fully functional in an additive manner,” Sabia added.
The study is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. (ANI)