Certainly if these years were spent in a nursing home having to be wheeled around in a wheelchair the answer for most of us would be “no.”  But what about an extra 15 years of life traveling, spending time with grandkids and playing golf and tennis?

There is absolutely no doubt that the way we take care of ourselves has everything to do with how we age.  Anyone who falls back on the old “Uncle Jerry smoked and drank Jim Bean until he died in a brothel at 103” is deluding themselves into thinking that THEY won the genetic lottery and can abuse their genes as much as they like.

 This particular study just confirms this further and quantifies the benefits a little more.  Basically, participants were given a score based on 4 factors:   adherence to a Mediterranean diet, nonsmoking, normal weight [BMI (in kg/m2): 18.5 to <25], and regular physical activity.

Those women with the lowest scores had 4 TIMES the risk of dying in the next decade compared to those with the highest scores.  In men the number was 2.6 times higher.  This translated into 15 more years of life in women and 8.4 years in men.  THAT, readers, is a lot of life to live.

These aren’t difficult guidelines to adhere to.  Non smoking is a no brainer and no one today would look you in the eye and tell you they’re improving their health by smoking.  Regular physical activity.  Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is something most people find very pleasant and compliance is high because of this.  And, the Med diet, when combined with calorie restriction, will likely aid in maintaining an ideal body weight.

So if you’re not there, are you willing to make these changes for 15 more years of life???  If you are NOT, then how do you value your own life and happiness when it’s not worth some simple changes?

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James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.