Scientific studies about lifestyle and the quality of life are difficult to do and often have very qualified results. A recent study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ2012;345:e5568) that is a very interesting read. The study looked at a fairly large sample of people over an eighteen year period. What it showed was that there is a strong correlation between healthy lifestyle habits and the length of life. The study grouped people into risk profiles based on habits like smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as the nature of emotional support through personal social networks.
The study found that lifelong healthy lifestyle choices translated into an average 5 to 6 years of increased life expectancy. The study also found that life expectancy increased with healthy lifestyle choices even if there was a chronic medical condition involved.
This study is worth reading, not because of any groundbreaking conclusions, but rather that it very systematically looked at the quality of life. Many studies focus just on smoking or just obesity, or on just a type of food. This study really looked at lifestyle in a more general way. Because of that, this study is very readable and can actually provide some guidance to people without raising fears about various choices in life.