Although it may seem glaringly obvious to us, the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital published a study recently regarding lifestyle and decisions made by women that directly affect how long we live and how well we live.
Five activities and decisions can have a direct effect on our lives.
The extensive study began in 1980 with 80,000 women and lasted 24 years.
"The volunteers completed detailed follow-up questionnaires every two years about their diet, frequency of physical activity, alcohol intake, weight, how much they smoked, and disease history. Deaths were confirmed by next of kin and the National Death Index.
Over the follow-up period the authors documented 8,882 deaths including 1,790 from heart disease and 4,527 from cancer. "
The authors of the study "estimated that 28percent of these deaths could have been avoided if women had never smoked and that 55percent could have been avoided if women had combined never smoking, regular physical activity, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
Alcohol intake did not substantially change this estimate, although heavy alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of dying from cancer.
Smoking was found to be the biggest cause of premature death but all the other factors also contributed.
The researchers conclude, "Even modest differences in lifestyle can have a substantial impact on reducing mortality rates".
What can WE conclude from all of this? That disease happens - cancer, heart disease, stroke...the list is long. Sometimes, no matter how well we live, many of us can and will be directly affected - or even die - from diseases or accidents that we have no control over.
However, this study also shows us that we have more control over our lives than we might think. And by not smoking, eating healthily and exercising regularly, we allow ourselves to live our lives to the fullest. We need to look to ourselves and our own behaviors first, when it comes to how we want to live our best life - and for how long.
What major decisions have you made in your own life to improve your health? Did you quit smoking? Start exercising? Or something else?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.