February 17, 2000
Seven Secrets to a Long Life
LOS ANGELES (ANS) -- Want to live to a ripe old age? A University of California at Los Angeles professor who has followed the health habits of 7,000 people in Alameda County for 35 years says seven simple daily health habits predict how long people will live and how healthy they will be during their lifetime.
People in the study with poor health practices experienced more than 50 percent greater mortality over the 35-year period than those who had healthy habits, said Lester Breslow, M.D., professor of health services, emeritus, at the UCLA School of Public Health.
The study showed that following the habits not only predicted lower mortality, but those who lived longer also suffered fewer disabilities, Breslow said. "What was surprising to me was how these seven habits were so strongly predictive of mortality."
These health habits are:
· 1. Don't smoke.
· 2. Drink moderately or don't drink at all.
· 3. Get a good night's sleep of seven or eight hours.
· 4. Exercise 30 minutes at a time, several times a week. Walking vigorously is a top choice.
· 5. Forget the scales. Eat moderately to maintain weight in relation to height.
· 6. Eat regularly, whether that's two meals a day, three or five. Whatever you do normally, keep it up because it's the regularity of life and moderation in eating, sleeping and exercising that makes all the difference.
· 7. Eat breakfast every day.
Those people in the study who followed zero to three habits had 100 percent mortality rate after 35 years; those who had followed four to five habits had a 65 percent mortality rate; those who followed six to seven habits had a 50 percent mortality rate.
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Lester Breslow, professor of health services, emeritus, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, Calif., 310-825-1388.