Page last updated: Monday, July 12, 2010
Four unhealthy behaviours combine to increase mortality risk

A combination of four unhealthy behaviours -- smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet and heavy alcohol consumption -- greatly increases the risk of premature death, a new study has found.
The study, published in the April 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, included 4,886 people, aged 18 or older, who were interviewed in 1984-1985.
Elisabeth Kvaavik, of the University of Oslo, and colleagues calculated health behaviour scores, allocating one point for each poor behaviour: smoking; fruits and vegetables consumed less than three times daily; less than two hours of physical activity per week; and weekly consumption of more than 14 units [one unit equals 8 grams, or about 0.3 ounces] of alcohol (in women) and more than 21 units in men. 
Over an average follow-up period of 20 years, there were 1,080 reported deaths among study participants: 431 due to cardiovascular disease, 318 due to cancer and 331 due to other causes. Compared to those with no bad health habits, those with all four unhealthy behaviours were about three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease or cancer, four times more likely to die from all other causes, and had an overall death risk equivalent to being 12 years older.
The researchers conclude that  “Modest but achievable adjustments to lifestyle behaviours are likely to have a considerable impact at both the individual and population level… Developing more efficacious methods by which to promote healthy diets and lifestyles across the population should be an important priority of public health policy.”

no website link
All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.