BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Groundbreaking research about lifestyle changes and living longer. A new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers finds four things can make a huge difference.

Mary Bubala has more.

We’ve heard for years that exercising and eating right will keep us alive longer, but now there’s proof.

Johns Hopkins researchers tracked 6,200 men and women from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds for an average of 7.6 years and found those who adopted four healthy behaviors had a whopping 80 percent lower death rate. Those four behaviors are regular exercise, a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping a normal weight and not smoking.

“That is just an enormous statistic,” said Dr. Haitham Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed is a Hopkins cardiologist and the lead author of the new study. He says it’s never too late to make changes. The people he tracked saw a huge turnaround in a relatively short period of time.

“In fact, the median age in our study was 62, which is close to the retirement age, but still all those patients benefited eight year down the line from reducing their risk of heart disease,” Ahmed said.

Researchers say of all the four healthy habits, not smoking or quitting smoking makes the biggest difference.

Fred Wentland smoked for about 22 years. He attributes that to his needing a quadruple bypass 10 years ago. Now he follows the four healthy tenets in the study and feels great.

“Things look very rosy for a guy who’s about 75 years old,” Wentland said.

Researchers say the recommended amount of exercise to see a difference is about 30 minutes five days a week.


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