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Default 4 Habits that may Cut Life by 10 Years
by greeniz515 04-27-2010, 06:38 AM

Study: Mortality Risk Spikes for Those With 4 Bad Habits



Katie Drummond
Contributor - AOL News

(April 26) -- Individually, they're the health hazards we're all familiar with, but put them together and they're a newly defined health nightmare: If you smoke, drink excessively, skip your fruits and vegetables, and fail to exercise, you risk shortening your life by more than a decade, scientists say.

While all four behaviors have been independently linked to illness and a shorter lifespan, a team of researchers led by Dr. Elisabeth Kvaavik at the University of Oslo in Norway wanted to examine the factors together -- especially because a single individual often exhibits several poor lifestyle choices.

The team's study, published this week in Archives of Internal Medicine, evaluated the four factors in both men and women, and then examined their link to several causes of death. Previous research had mostly been limited to one gender or to chronic illness, but not mortality risk.

The researchers interviewed 4,886 adults living in the United Kingdom between 1984 and 1985, and calculated a "health behavior score" that assigned one point for each risk factor: smoking, eating fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day, getting less than two hours of exercise per week and imbibing more than 112 grams of alcohol (around 8.5 shots) per week for women or 168 grams (13 shots) for men.

Twenty years later, 1,080 of those surveyed had died. When the team looked at those who'd exhibited all four unhealthy behaviors, they found that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer was three times greater than it was among those who had none of the behaviors.

Individuals with all four lifestyle factors were also four times more likely to die from other causes and had an overall mortality risk comparable to that of a person 12 years older.

"This is a significant increase in risk," Kvaavik told AOL News. "And it's important to remember that all four factors often appear in the same person, so the risk is not isolated to a small subgroup of people."

The study didn't examine why one group engaged in several unhealthy behaviors, while another engaged in none at all. But Kvaavik suspects that education is a key factor.

"It's a kind of overall health consciousness that seems lacking," she said. "If you worry about your health, and you're informed of your risks, you will probably make better choices."

Though the results of the study are startling, researchers said it wouldn't take dramatic lifestyle cutoffs -- e.g., grueling exercise routines, restrictive diets -- to mitigate much of one's risk. Someone who exercised half an hour a day, ate four servings of fruits and vegetables, quaffed less than one drink a day and snuffed out their cigarettes would have aced the study's questionnaire.

"A change like doing more than two hours of exercise per week should be attainable to people," Kvaavik said. "The message is to work on improving all four factors -- because meeting those cutoffs isn't very hard to do."

And while she'd like to see education campaigns that target the improvement of bad habits, Kvaavik also wants people to take personal responsibility for their health.

"It's not only knowledge that will make that fundamental difference," she said. "It comes down to the person."
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thats nice article....


what about smoke? i didnt do that...



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bump!
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