New Study Reveals Healthy Lifestyle Can Extend Lifespan Despite Genetic Predispositions

Health 11:35 01.05.2024

Recent research indicates that individuals genetically predisposed to shorter lifespans could potentially add about five years to their lives by adopting a healthy lifestyle regimen, Ednews reports.

Experts analyzed the impact of four key lifestyle factors—exercise, balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and abstaining from smoking—on longevity. The study, encompassing over 350,000 participants, found that irrespective of lifestyle choices, those with a high genetic risk faced a 21 percent increased likelihood of premature mortality compared to those with a lower genetic risk.

Furthermore, individuals leading unhealthy lifestyles exhibited a staggering 78 percent higher risk of premature death, regardless of their genetic predispositions.

Mitigating Early Mortality Risks

For individuals with both an unfavorable genetic profile and unhealthy lifestyle habits, the risk of premature death more than doubles compared to those with healthier lifestyles and better genetic luck.

Encouragingly, lifestyle modifications wield significant influence over life expectancy, with research from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Zhejiang University School of Medicine (China) suggesting that lifestyle adjustments can mitigate genetic risks by approximately 62 percent.

According to the study, individuals with a high genetic risk could potentially extend their lifespan by an average of 5.22 years by embracing a suitable lifestyle, especially by eschewing smoking, engaging in regular physical activity, prioritizing adequate sleep, and adopting a nutritious diet.

The Role of Genetics and Lifestyle

Researchers gauged participants' polygenic risk scores, evaluating thousands of genetic variants to ascertain disease susceptibility. Although individual genetic variants have minimal impact, their cumulative effect provides insights into disease vulnerability when analyzed collectively alongside lifestyle factors.

Published in the BMJ Evidence Based Medicine journal, the study tracked participants over an average of 13 years, recording 24,239 deaths during the observation period.

Expert Insights

Matt Lambert, Chief Health Information Officer at the World Cancer Research Fund, underscored the study's significance, emphasizing that despite genetic predispositions, leading a healthy lifestyle can mitigate risks and foster longevity. Lambert highlighted the pivotal role of balanced nutrition and physical activity in not only extending lifespan but also reducing the risk of cancer, affirming that evidence supports the efficacy of such lifestyle modifications.

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