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Healthy Aging

Healthy Body

4 Top Ways to Live Longer

Johns Hopkins researchers found that people who made certain healthy choices reduced their risks significantly. See if you’re taking these smart steps to live longer.

Research Shows
Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

Recently, electronic cigarettes have become more popular. These devices deliver a mist of nicotine, liquid and other chemicals and flavorings which is inhaled much like cigarette smoke. The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are currently unknown and under research, but studies have shown they produce short-term changes similar to traditional cigarettes. Although e-cigarette manufacturers claim their products are safe, their ingredient lists are often unknown and one FDA study found cancer-causing substances in half the e-cigarette samples tested. Many samples had other impurities, and one sample included a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze. Additionally, Lang says, e-cigarettes may discourage or “actually prevent patients from quitting, since they can get their nicotine hit in non-smoking areas.”

A Johns Hopkins-led study of 6,200 men and women over eight years found that those who adopted four smart behaviors reduced the chance of death from all causes within that time frame by an astounding 80 percent.

How to live longer? Here are those four factors, all within your control.

1. Don't smoke.

Although your best plan to live longer is to adopt all four lifestyle factors, if you had to choose one, the researchers say, this is it.

“Smoking not only affects coronary arteries and lungs,” says Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of the study.

“Smokers also have increased rates of cancer and risk of stroke. It just affects so many organ systems.”

2. Maintain a healthy weight.

The healthiest people in the study maintained a body mass index (BMI)—a ratio of height to weight that measures body mass—of less than 25.

To find out your BMI, try using a free BMI calculator. To reach (and maintain) a healthy BMI, get busy on lifestyle changes 3 and 4.

3. Get up and move.

Aim for about 30 minutes of activity a day most days of the week. Try breaking it into three 10-minute bouts of activity per day—a 10-minute walk in the morning, another at lunch and a stroll after dinner.

4. Make healthy food choices.

The study found that the healthiest people followed a Mediterranean-style diet. That means a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, tree nuts with healthy oils, fish (and less red meats), whole-grain carbs and olive oil for cooking.

Get Started!

Learn more about the study and bring the power of these smart choices into your own life with tips from Michael T. Smith, Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Behavior and Health.

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