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The world average age is 71 years today. We all want to live longer and healthier lives, but given today’s hectic schedules, how do become Peter Pan?

A new study released in the British Medical Journal, in November, 2016, finds that having a healthier lifestyle plays the most important role in living longer; and not weight alone.

This means that you may be classified as having a normal weight with a BMI <25, but if you have unhealthy behaviors such as binge drinking or smoking, you are at risk of reducing your lifespan. In addition, those with chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, or other age-related frailties, then you are also likely to live fewer years.

In comparison, someone who is overweight may actually live longer if they are free of disease and generally have healthy lifestyle habits.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is classified as normal weight, 25.0-29.9 is overweight, and 30 or higher is obese.

Want a long life, then make sure you have moderate exercise at least 30 minutes a day, no smoking, minimal drinking, and eat lean.

The study was conducted on more than 113,000 women and men, who did not have cancer or heart disease at the start of the study. They were monitored over 32 years and notes kept of their weight, what they ate, exercise levels, smoking habits, and alcohol consumption.

So how do you ensure a longer life? Well, “healthy” lifestyle factors include boring things like never smoking, exercising, healthy eating habits, but surprisingly alcohol drinks are allowed. Exercise means doing moderate to vigorous intensity, at least for 30 minutes, but even better for you if you can maintain it for longer. Being allowed alcohol drinks doesn’t mean you can have a happy hour every day, only low to moderate alcohol intake of up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks a day for men are permitted.

In the words of Buddha:

The Tempter masters the lazy and irresolute man, who dwells on the attractive side of things, ungoverned in his senses, and unrestrained in his food, like the wind overcomes a rotten tree.

But the Tempter cannot master a man who dwells on the distasteful side of things, self-controlled in his senses, moderate in eating, resolute and full of faith, like the wind cannot move a mountain crag.

The study showed that the risk of death significantly decreased, as the number of low-risk lifestyle factors adopted increased. So those participants that for example didn’t smoke, drank moderately and exercised, and had a BMI below 22, had the lowest risk of death overall, as well as the lowest risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

But, interestingly even for those participants who were overweight or obese, if they decided to improve even one of their healthy lifestyle factors, they significantly reduced their risk of early death. In fact, they generally reduced their probability of death, against skinnier people that may have lower BMI, but didn’t follow any elements of a healthy lifestyle.

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