5 Health Behaviours for Longevity


This year (2018), a paper from Harvard researchers came out reporting on 5 lifestyle behaviours that Americans can adopt to increase life expectancy. These five behaviours were:

  1. Never smoking
  2. Normal body mass index (between 18.5 to 24.9)
  3. 30+ min / day of moderate to vigorous physical activity
  4. moderate alcohol intake
  5. high diet quality score (upper 40%) 


Compared to people who were not practicing these behaviours, those who practiced all five lifestyle behaviours had:

  • 74% lower risk of mortality from any cause (all-cause mortality)
  • 65% lower risk of death from cancer
  • 82% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • 14 years increased life expectancy in women
  • 12 years increased life expectancy in men 


Not practicing the 5 health behaviours listed above was associated with:

  • 60.7% of deaths from any cause (all-cause mortality)
  • 51.7% of deaths from cancer
  • 71.7% of deaths from cardiovascular disease




This paper was very comprehensive because it analyzed data from three very large population studies (Nurses' Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study, NHANES 2013-2014). The results show that a healthy lifestyle can extend one's life. 




Li Y et al. Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population. Circulation. 2018; 137:00-00. DOI:10.1161/circulationaha.117.032047 (click here to read the full paper


George Cho