A new study suggests that a healthy lifestyle allows a longer life for older people.
According to the study published in the journal BMJ, a healthy lifestyle increases the life expectancy of men by six years and of women by three years. Moreover, it helps people to live their older years dementia-free. The most common dementia among Americans is Alzheimer’s. About 6 million Americans above 65 have Alzheimer’s.
The study found that, at 65, women with the healthiest lifestyle had an average life expectancy of 24 compared to 21 years for those whose lifestyle was less healthy. Similarly, the life expectancy of healthy men of the same age was about 23 years compared with 17 years for men who were less healthy, as reported by the Washington Post.
The research involved 2,449 people above 65 under the part of the Chicago Health and Aging Project. The project first enrolled participants in 1993.
The researchers developed the healthy lifestyle scoring system based on some factors that include physical activity, cognitive activity, diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption. One point was given for each section. Those with high points were considered healthier.
Also, those with higher scores lived with Alzheimer’s for a small portion of their lives compared to those with fewer scores. Women with an unhealthy lifestyle had 19 percent chance of getting Alzheimer’s in the final years as compared to 11 percent for healthy women. Similarly, unhealthy men had 12 percent chance of getting Alzheimer’s as compared to the 6 percent chance for healthy men.
The researchers concluded that life expectancy has increased over the years because of many factors, including good healthcare services and a healthy lifestyle. But they also said that people with a healthy lifestyle had a small chance of developing dementia in their older years, the Washington Post reported.