London: Want to know the secret to a long and healthy life? All you need to do is to follow a four-step plan: No smoking, regular exercise, not being overweight, and eating a Mediterranean-style diet daily, says a new study.
Researchers claim following these simple steps could "substantially reduce" one`s risk of early death. And, this is the first time, they have been able to calculate exactly how many years this lifestyle could add to the average life.
Women in particular stand to gain. They could live for up to 15 more years. But men, too, can extend their lives by 8.5 years, the 25-year study has revealed.
Prof Piet van den Brandt, professor of epidemiology at Holland`s Maastricht University, which conducted the research, said: "This is the first time a study has looked at lifestyle and overall dietary intake on life-span.
"Previous studies have looked at specific nutrients and their effects but not diet and lifestyle as a whole. It is also the first to draw a distinction between men and women in the effects of a lifestyle on mortality.
"It means lifestyle really can have a large impact on whether you die early or not and that seems to be more significant for women than men."
The huge study monitored the lifestyle choices and death rates of 12,000 men and women aged between 55 and 69, the `Daily Express` reported.
The participants were assessed at the outset on diet and lifestyle. They were weighed to calculate their body mass index, with anything between 18.5 and 25 deemed as normal and healthy.