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Health & Families

How to live longer in four steps

Want to live longer in four (perhaps not so easy) steps? On August 18, America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study outlining how. And yes, snuffing out cigarettes and skipping afterwork drinks for the gym are part of the life-extending package.

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the new study by the CDC found that for people ages 17 and older, not smoking, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and drinking only in moderation (no more than one drink a day for women/two a day for men) were 63 percent less likely to die at an early age than their less-healthy counterparts. Nearly 17,000 people participated in the survey.

Picking one healthy behavior provides protection, the researchers said, but your best bet is to adopt all four healthy habits.

"If you want to lead a longer life and feel better, you should adopt healthy behaviors - not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, and avoiding excessive alcohol use," CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release.

Women whose lifestyles included all four of the healthy behaviors did slightly better than men. Their risk of death from all causes was 63 percent lower, while men's risk was 62 percent lower.

This news follows another similar study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found that that eating a Mediterranean diet along with regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight could add 15 years to a woman's life, or 8.5 years to a man's.