Researchers awarded a point to participants for each of the following: not currently smoking, consuming the alcohol equivalent of between half a glass and seven glasses of wine per week, eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and being active.
The final category was defined as either having a sedentary occupation and taking half an hour of exercise a day, or simply having a non-sedentary job like plumber or nurse. Those with four points were significantly less likely to have died over the 10 year period, and a person 60 years of age with zero points had the same risk of dying as someone aged 74 years old.
The findings were most pronounced in relation to deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease, with those scoring zero being five times more likely to succumb than those scoring four. Researchers also concluded that social class and BMI did not have a significant role in the results.
British Heart Foundation spokesperson, Judy O'Sullivan, welcomed the results, stating, "By not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, taking regular physical activity and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, people can improve their chances of living longer."