Dr. Michael Forster

Successful aging and reduced health costs are within reach

Okay, the findings may not be exactly earth-shattering, but the evidence supporting them is impressively convincing.  I’m referring to the outcomes of a study involving more than 5,000 middle-aged British civil servants whose healthy behavior in four key areas were tracked for 16 years.

 The good-health behaviors seem commonsense “no-brainers” – non-smoking, regular exercise, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, and moderate alcohol consumption.  For that, though, results were no less striking – consistently healthy behaviors increased the likelihood of avoiding disability, chronic diseases, and mental health problems fully three times in comparison to a control sample of those living a less healthy lifestyle.  While each healthy behavior alone (non-smoking or exercise by itself, etc.)  had a positive effect on health, it was the combination of behaviors that produced a dramatically compounding long-term impact.

So here’s the key to both “successful aging” and driving down health care costs over the long run – an overall healthy lifestyle that prevents chronic disease and disability.  In the words of the study’s lead researcher, Séverine Sabia, Ph.D., an epidemiology and public health researcher at University College London – “Multiple healthy behaviors appear to increase the chance of reaching old age disease-free and fully functional.”

Astounding revelation?  Perhaps not.  But simple truth rarely is.

Dr. Michael Forster
Dr. Michael Forster

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