Following five lifestyle habits may increase the years you live free of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, according to a study in the BMJ (2020; doi:10.1136/bmj.16669). These findings are a follow-up to a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study that we reported on in 2018. These are the healthy habits:

1. exercising regularly

2. eating a healthy diet

3. keeping a healthy body weight

4. drinking alcohol in moderation

5. not smoking

Among those studies, men who smoked heavily and men and women with obesity had the lowest disease-free life expectancy. “This study provides strong evidence that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free,” said lead study author Yanping Li, PhD, senior research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University.

Researchers based their findings on 34 years of data from 73,196 women and 28 years of data from 38,366 men enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.