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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Preventing Dying Before Age 55

How we choose to live in our younger years can greatly influence one’s life expectancy. Having a healthy diet, exercising, and refraining from substances like drugs and alcohol are key elements to living to old age; behaving counter to those three principles can cut a life in half - the science is there to prove it. Scientists have repeatedly conducted studies outlining the effect unhealthy behaviors have on the body and on the ability to live to old age. As a matter of fact a new study has found that teenagers who smoke cigarettes, are obese, or have high blood sugar levels have a high risk of dying before the age of 55.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from 9,245 people between the ages 12 to 39. Of those who participated in the study, more than 30 percent were smokers and more than 15 percent were obese. 298 people died before reaching age 55.

Participants who smoked between the ages of 12 and 39 were found to be 86 percent more likely to die before 55. Teenagers who were obese had increased the risk of dying before age 55 by 39 percent. High blood sugar early in life tripled the risk of dying young.

Fortunately, current cigarette smoking among teenagers declined significantly between 2002 and 2010 in 41 states and teen cigarette use fell from 12.6 percent to 8.7 percent nationwide, according to a government report released in November.

“There is a need for more effective strategies to try and prevent obesity and smoking, and improve the overall health of the younger population,” lead researcher Sharon Saydah, a CDC senior scientist, told HealthDay. “Any time somebody dies before age 55, it has an overall societal impact.”

The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.
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