Longer life
By Pat Hagan

risk prediction
It can be a gamble ... calculate your health risks

NOTHING in life is a sure-fire bet ? just ask anyone planning a flutter on Saturday’s Grand National. But the good news is it is now easier than ever to back a winner in the lifetime health stakes. Scientists have worked out the odds on which kinds of lifestyle changes are most likely to extend your lifespan ? providing a simple “form” guide to how to live longer.

They believe gambling on a few simple changes in lifestyle can help us ward off deadly diseases and live up to ten years longer.

And the earlier in life we make those changes, the better the odds of success.

Latest research shows the childhood obesity epidemic could be controlled with just 15 minutes of exercise a day. That’s a quick kick-about in the playground during break or a bike ride to the shops and back.

Dr Julian Halcox, senior lecturer in cardiology at University College London, says the more changes you make and the earlier you make them, the bigger your winnings. For example, a 20-year-old white man who smokes and has slightly high blood pressure and cholesterol can extend his life by TEN years if he packs up cigarettes, switches to low-fat foods and takes exercise to control blood pressure.

If he waits until he is 40 before making the changes, the best he can hope for is to add another six years to his life.

Dr Halcox says: “The sooner you make changes such as quitting smoking, reducing your cholesterol or lowering your blood pressure, the bigger the impact,”

“Although it is never too late to make changes, the longer you leave it the smaller the benefits.”

Pat Hagan," ' Longer life 'Grand National' tips,” The Sun, April 12, 2007. | Longer life