A healthy lifestyle can mitigate genetic risk for early death by 62%, study suggests

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A healthy lifestyle could add 5.5 years to a person predisposed to a short lifespan, the study found.

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Even if your genetics put you at greater risk of premature death, a healthy lifestyle could help you significantly combat it, according to a new study.

This risk could be attenuated by about 62% in people with a genetic predisposition, said lead author Dr. Xue Li, dean of the School of Public Health at Zhejian University School of Medicine. in China.

Many studies have shown the link between a healthy lifestyle and longevity and others have highlighted the genetic component of lifespan, but the report published Monday in the journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine explored how the two come together .

With data from more than 350,000 people and information on their genetics, education, socioeconomic status and disease history, this study relied on robust methodology, said Dr. Aladdin Shadyab, associate professor of public health. and medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He was not involved in the research.

The sample consisted of people of European ancestry, so it is limited in the populations to which it can be applied, Shadyab added.

The researchers assigned each individual a polygenetic risk score, which is a score summarizing the presence of multiple genes that impact human lifespan, according to the study. Study participants were also given a score based on their adherence to healthy lifestyle principles, and then were followed for an average of 13 years to see if they had a short, intermediate, or long lifespan.

According to the data, everyone, regardless of their genetic risk, is 78% more likely to die prematurely if they lead an unhealthy lifestyle.

And people with both a short-lived genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle were twice as likely to die prematurely as those without genetic risk and a healthier lifestyle, said Li, who is also director of Zhejiang National Institute of Health and Medicine Data Science. University.

People with genetic risk could extend their life expectancy by up to 5.5 years with a healthy lifestyle, data shows.

“Adhering to a healthy lifestyle could significantly mitigate the reduction in lifespan of people genetically predisposed to a shorter lifespan,” Li said.

The study was observational, meaning it could determine associations but could not say with certainty that behaviors were the direct cause of changes in lifespan.

But researchers were able to identify four factors associated with the greatest impact on the risk of premature death.

“The study identified an optimal lifestyle combination containing four lifestyle factors – not smoking, regular physical activity, adequate sleep duration and a healthy diet – that provides greater benefits in extending life span. human life,” Li said.

In the study, adequate sleep was defined as seven to eight hours per night. Current physical activity guidelines for Americans recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and two days of strength training per week for adults.

In the United States, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as a limit of two drinks per day for adult men and one drink per day for adult women, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Building a healthier lifestyle may seem like a major undertaking, but manageable steps can help you get there.

There are helplines, apps, and support groups that can help you quit smoking.

A CDC-funded smoking cessation hotline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), is free to U.S. residents in all states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, and Porto Rico.

Committing to alcohol-free days or even challenges such as Dry January or Sober October can help you reevaluate your relationship with alcohol and reset your habits, according to journalist Rosamund Dean, author of “Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life.” said in a previous CNN article.

For a healthier, longer life, numerous studies have shown support for the Mediterranean diet, an eating style that focuses on plant-based cuisine rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and oil. ‘olive. Red meat is used sparingly.

When it comes to catching enough z’s, if you can’t get those seven or eight hours of sleep, try establishing a sleep routine, getting out of bed when you can’t sleep, and keep the room cool, dark and free. electronics.

And if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to create an exercise routine you can stick to, make it part of your daily routine, starting slowly and choosing an activity you enjoy for exercise.

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