A healthy lifestyle—including being physically active, eating a nutritious diet and not smoking—plays a significant role in living a longer, healthier life. This conclusion emerged from an observational study of 7,000 men and women aged 25–74 who were periodically assessed over a 35-year period. Researchers based the analysis on the American Heart Association’s definition of ideal cardiovascular health. This definition includes absence of clinical heart disease, together with positive outcomes on “Life’s Simple 7” health metrics:

  1. body mass index
  2. smoking status
  3. physical activity level
  4. diet
  5. fasting blood glucose concentrations
  6. blood pressure
  7. total blood cholesterol levels

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans, and good scores on these factors are linked with a lower likelihood of heart disease. Find the study in the Journal of the American Heart Association (2018; doi:10.1161/JAHA.118.008741).

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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