7 Health Habits Proven to Extend Life




Dr. Lester Breslow, a former dean of the UCLA School of Public Health died in 2012 at 97. Breslow was famous in public health for proving that behavior absolutely affects longevity.

After studying 7,000 people in California for 20 years, he discovered seven healthy habits. A 45-year-old with six of the seven habits was shown to have a life expectancy 11 years longer than someone with three or fewer! A 60-year-old who followed all seven recommended habits would be as healthy as a 30-year-old who followed fewer than three!

A later study showed that those who followed these habits were also less likely to become disabled.

  1.     Do not smoke.
  2.     Drink in moderation or not at all.
  3.     Sleep seven to eight hours.
  4.     Exercise at least moderately.
  5.     Eat three regular meals and do not snack.
  6.     Maintain a moderate weight.
  7.     Eat breakfast.

In 1969, when President of the American Public Health Association, he said, “In the long run, housing may be more important than hospitals to health.”

In 2010, Dr. Breslow, still active at 95, joined with another UCLA professor to publish a paper on a group of California Mormons they had studied over 25 years. The life expectancy of the Mormon males was nearly 10 years longer than other white American males. Female Mormons lived nearly 6 years longer. The authors credited the Mormons’ healthy lifestyle: not drinking or smoking, limited eating of meat and monthly fasting.

Dr. Breslow himself did not smoke or drink. He walked regularly, practiced moderation in all things and enjoyed tending his vegetable garden.

From “Lester Breslow, Who Linked Healthy Habits and Long Life, Dies at 97,” New York Times, April 15, 2012.

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