London: An individual who smokes, drinks a lot, is physically inactive and has an unhealthy diet has 2.5 fold higher mortality risk than someone who leads a healthy lifestyle, new research says.
"To put it positively, a healthy lifestyle can help you stay 10 years younger," said Eva Martin-Diener from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Zurich.
Attention has now shifted on four key factors: tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol consumption.
For the study, researchers analysed data from the Swiss National Cohort (SNC) on these four factors from 16,721 participants aged between 16 and 90.
Smoking appears to be the most harmful. Compared with a group of non-smokers, smokers have a 57 percent higher risk of dying prematurely.
The impact of an unhealthy diet, not enough sport and alcohol abuse results in an elevated mortality risk of around 15 percent for each factor.
"We were very surprised by the 2.5 fold higher risk when all four risk factors are combined," said lead study author Brian Martin from University of Zurich.
According to Martin, an unhealthy lifestyle has, above all, a long-lasting impact.
"The probability of a 75-year-old man with none of the four risk factors surviving the next 10 years is 67 percent and for a women, 74 percent," researchers concluded.