A Cambridge University study has found that making minor lifestyle changes can actually extend the life span of an individual. The study, which monitored more than 25,000 people found that giving up smoking and eating healthier foodstuff could end up increasing the life expectancy comparable to a person aged 11-12 years younger than the said individual.
The research is a part of the European Prospective Investigation and Nutrition (Epic) study and has over half a million participants from 10 European nations. In the UK, the study is tracking 25,663 men and women between the ages 45 and 79 years over the last 13 years. It is examining the impact of diet, environment and lifestyle on their health. All participants are regularly filling up questionnaires about their health status. Currently available results suggest that eating five portions of vegetables and fruit can give an individual a life expectancy of someone about three years younger. Giving up smoking gave an individual the health status of someone four to five years younger. "Many of us find it difficult to change our usual lifestyle. However, there is increasing evidence that even relatively small changes can make a big difference to our health and well being," said lead researcher Professor Kay-Tee Khaw. Highlighting the study, Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said, "Eating an extra piece of fruit or walking up the stairs can help people add years to their lives."