Quantifying the Value of a Healthy Lifestyle
Permalink | View Comments (0) | Post Comment | | Posted by Reason

As a companion piece to a recent post on the cost of obesity and lack of exercise, as determined by epidemiological studies, here is another study that looks at the costs and benefits of various lifestyle choices:

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disorders - the incidence of these non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is constantly rising in industrialised countries. Attention is focusing, amongst other things, on the main risk factors for these diseases which are linked to personal behaviour - i.e. tobacco smoking, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol consumption. For the study the researchers used data from the Swiss National Cohort (SNC). The Zurich public health physicians focussed on CVDs and cancer as they account for the most deaths in Switzerland. The researchers succeeded in correlating data on tobacco consumption, fruit consumption, physical activity and alcohol consumption from 16,721 participants aged between 16 and 90 from 1977 to 1993 with the corresponding deaths up to 2008. The impact of the four forms of behaviour was still visible when biological risk factors like weight and blood pressure were taken into account as well.

Compared with a group of non-smokers, smokers have a 57 percent higher risk of dying prematurely. The impact of an unhealthy diet, not enough sport and alcohol abuse results in an elevated mortality risk of around 15 percent for each factor. An unhealthy lifestyle has above all a long-lasting impact. Whereas high wine consumption, cigarettes, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity scarcely had any effect on mortality amongst the 45 to 55-year-olds, it does have a visible effect on 65 to 75-year-olds. The probability of a 75-year-old man with none of the four risk factors surviving the next ten years is 67 percent, exactly the same as the risk for a smoker who is ten years younger, doesn't exercise, eats unhealthily and drinks a lot. An individual who smokes, drinks a lot, is physically inactive and has an unhealthy diet has 2.5 fold higher mortality risk in epidemiological terms than an individual who looks after his health. Or to put it positively: "A healthy lifestyle can help you stay ten years' younger."

Link: http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/articles/2014/gesunder-lebenswandel-verlaengert-das-leben-um-jahre_en.html

Comments
Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. Please note that comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.









Remember personal info?