Researchers in Norway have identified four "fatal behaviors" that combine to increase the risk of death. These include smoking, lack of physical activity, poor diet and alcohol consumption.
The researchers arrived at this conclusion after examining data on 5,000 adults aged 18 and over. The data was collected in 1984 and 1985. In the follow-up period of 20 years, 1,080 participants died, 431 from heart and artery disease, 318 from cancer, and 331 from other causes.
The researchers found that people who had all four risky behaviors were four times more likely to die from other causes than people without the risky behavior. They were also three times more likely to die from heart disease and cancer.
"Modest but achievable adjustments to lifestyle behaviors are likely to have a considerable impact at both the individual and population level," said the authors, led by Dr Elisabeth Kvaavik from the University of Oslo. "Developing more efficacious methods by which to promote healthy diets and lifestyles across the population should be an important priority of public health policy."
The details are published in the journal Archives Of Internal Medicine.