“Death in old age is, of course, inevitable, but death in middle age is not”, so rightly said by Dr. Kerr.
Professor Peter Elwood, who is at the School of Public Health at the University of Wales in Cardiff, has done a remarkable piece of work observing a large cohort of Welsh men for over 30 years. By carefully monitoring patterns of behavior — smoking, alcohol consumption, and so on — he has mapped these behaviors onto the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and, of course, cancer. He showed that if we live well, if we choose to live well, then we can have remarkable reductions in the risk of developing all those types of diseases.
The 5 Longevity “Virtues”
There are 5 basic types of good behavior: regular exercise, not smoking, alcohol consumption within guidelines, maintaining a low BMI (body mass index), and eating a predominantly plant-based diet.
Thus, if one practices 4 or 5 of those “virtues,” compared with men who practice none, the reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease is around 67%; the reduction in the incidence of diabetes is 73%; the reduction in developing cancer is 20%-25%; remarkably, the reduction in dementia is 65%; and the reduction in all-cause mortality is 32%. Most of the reduction in cancer risk was related to smoking, and frankly the other forms of behavior in this cohort did not affect the development of cancer very remarkably.
Very similar outcomes have been found in large studies in the United States and elsewhere in Western Europe.
Many deaths in middle age are preventable. Let us live well. and Live Long!