0749 GMT March 19, 2019
"Improvements in medical technology are often thought to be the gatekeeper to healthier, longer life," Mikko Myrskylä, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, said, according to UPI.
"We showed that a healthy lifestyle, which costs nothing, is enough to enable individuals to enjoy a very long and healthy life."
"A moderately healthy lifestyle is enough to get the benefits. Avoiding becoming obese and not smoking is not an unrealistic goal."
The study of more than 14,000 people in the United States between the ages of 50 and 89 from 1998 to 2012 found that people who never smoked and who were not obese lived four to five years longer than the general population.
The study found men who were not overweigh and never smoked lived an average of 11 years longer than men who smoked and were overweight. The gap for women was even greater at 12 years.
"Our results show how important it is to focus on prevention. Those who avoid risky health behaviors are achieving very long and healthy lives. Effective policy interventions targeting health behaviors could help larger fractions of the population to achieve the health benefits observed in this study," Myrskylä said.