Life Extension Magazine®

People exercising and healthy dieting for their life expectancy

Add 12 to 14 Years to Healthy Life Expectancy

A large study published in 2018 showed that people who adopt five specific healthy lifestyle factors add 12-14 years to their life expectancy. Most readers of Life Extension Magazine are even more vigilant in proactively taking steps to increase their healthy longevity.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: William Faloon.

William Faloon
William Faloon

When I founded the Life Extension® group in 1977, our unique purposes attracted a lot of media attention.

A question reporters often asked me was:

Why do you want to live so long?

Rather than respond to the obvious, I made it clear that if people followed healthier lifestyles, they could add about 15 years to their lifespans.

Despite the news coverage, public interest in our work was virtually zero until 1980. That’s when we began publishing Anti-Aging News. Three hundred subscriptions were sold the first year at $27 each.

This attracted media questions like: “Is extending human lifespans a fad that will soon disappear?” Our response was that once people feel better and live longer, they will not revert to illness and premature death.

A large study published in 2018 demonstrated that people who adopt five specific healthy lifestyle factors add 12-14 years to their life expectancy.1

None of these healthy choices are surprising today. Each, however, was met with skepticism in earlier years.

We at Life Extension view 15 years of added life as a starting point. Those who go beyond basic preventive practices may live significantly longer.

The 2018 paper, published in a prestigious medical journal, outlines five factors associated with 12-14 years of additional life expectancy at age 50.1 Readers of this magazine engage in far more comprehensive approaches.

These findings, however, serve as a reminder to not overlook the basics of healthy longevity.

Despite spending more on medical care, Americans have a shorter lifespan compared with most other affluent countries.2,3

These higher rates of mortality in the United States prompted a study to estimate the impact of lifestyle factors on life expectancy.1

The 5 Critical Lifestyle Factors

The healthy lifestyle factors associated with longer life expectancy in this study were:1

  • A healthy diet
  • Maintaining a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2
  • 30 minutes or more a day of moderate/vigorous physical activity
  • Light alcohol intake
  • Never smoking

On the basis of these findings, the researchers wrote that:

Americans could narrow the life-expectancy gap between the United States and other industrialized countries by adopting a healthier lifestyle.”1

Impact on Longevity

Bowl of salad

Circulation is a scientific journal published for the American Heart Association.

This 2018 study published in Circulation, incorporated data from more than 123,000 individuals for up to 34 years.

Five lifestyle factors made a huge impact on mortality.

People who adhered to all five of these behaviors had a 74% lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who didn’t follow any of the health lifestyle measures.1

In people who failed to adhere to any of the five healthy factors, cancer deaths were 65% higher and cardiovascular disease mortality was 82% higher.1

There was a clear trend for lower risk of dying with increasing adherence to the healthy lifestyle factors, even if the participants didn’t adhere to all five.

In other words, adhering to any or all of the healthy lifestyle factors progressively decreased risk of dying compared with adhering to no healthy lifestyle factors.

The researchers projected that 50-year-old women who followed all five healthy lifestyle factors would live an additional 14 years beyond what would be expected for someone who didn’t adhere to any of the lifestyle measures, while 50-year-old men who followed all five healthy lifestyle factors would live 12.2 years longer.1

These 12 to14 added years represent a 48% to 49% increased lifespan (starting at age 50) in the healthy lifestyle individuals, compared to those who did not follow any of the five longevity factors.1

Real World Benefits

Woman riding a stationary bike

Findings from this 2018 study are consistent with those from other countries, such as Japan,4 Germany,5,6 and Canada.7

This suggests that adherence to a healthier lifestyle exerts robust and durable effects across a wide range of geopolitical and cultural backdrops.

The authors of this study commented that

the United States healthcare system has focused primarily on drug discoveries and disease treatment rather than prevention.”1

Vindication for Health-Conscious Individuals

These life-expectancy gains reported in the 2018 study are not surprising with today’s understanding of disease risks.

To repeat a point that bears emphasizing, people who adhered to all five healthy lifestyle factors had a 74% lower risk of dying from any cause at any time during the follow-up period than people who did not adhere to any healthy lifestyle factors.1

For those who long ago began engaging in a healthy lifestyle and were criticized by cynics who felt little could be done to influence longevity, this large data analysis represents meaningful vindication.

No Comparison to Life Extension Supporters

Man on treadmill

The majority of people who enjoyed these remarkable lifespan increases did nothing exceptional.

Unlike most of you reading this now, the study subjects didn’t take full advantage of longevity insights offered by comprehensive blood testing.

The study subjects contrast sharply with Life Extension readers who intervene to slow aging by correcting NAD+ deficits, removing senescent cells, and boosting cellular AMPK activity.

This large study, however, provides compelling evidence that Americans exert a tremendous degree of control over their healthy longevity. It also reveals why preventive healthcare should be a top priority for health policymakers.

Sadly, American medical practice is dominated by pharmaceutical and other financial interests whose profit depends on treating lots of people who contract cancer, or have blocked arteries, dementia, etc.

Circumventing Degenerative Illnesses

In 2018 it is estimated that over 600,000 Americans died of cancer.8

Heart disease mortality has declined, but still surpasses cancer.

Record numbers of Americans are stricken with Alzheimer’s today, though prevalence of dementia has dropped in people who follow preventive behavior patterns.9

An abundance of published research validates substantial decreases in disease incidence and mortality in people who proactively take steps to protect their precious health.

Huge Amounts of Data Analyzed

In this 2018 study, data from the following sources were

  • Nurses’ Health Study (1980–2014)
  • Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986–2014)

Combining these two studies allowed the researchers to combine results from more than 123,000 participants and to include up to 34 years of
follow-up monitoring.

The title of the paper perfectly reflects the purpose of the study:

Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the U.S. Population.”1

In This Month’s Issue...

As men age past 40, they encounter nighttime urinary urgencies related to overactive bladder. Page 24 of this issue discusses a plant extract formula that reduced nighttime urinary frequency in a study group of men over age 45.

On page 42 we examine a primary inflammatory factor inside cells that can be easily suppressed. Most of you have garnered these inflammation-lowering benefits since the early 1990s.

As a reader of this publication, you are kept informed on the latest scientific findings about improving quality-of-life as you add more years to your healthy longevity.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon, Co-Founder

Life Extension Buyers Club


  1. Li Y, Pan A, Wang DD, et al. Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population. Circulation. 2018;138(4):345-355.
  2. National Research Council. Institute of Medicine. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. In: Woolf SH, Aron L, eds. U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US), National Academy of Sciences.; 2013.
  3. Papanicolas I, Woskie LR, Jha AK. Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries. Jama. 2018;319(10):1024-1039.
  4. Tamakoshi A, Tamakoshi K, Lin Y, Yagyu K, Kikuchi S, Group JS. Healthy lifestyle and preventable death: findings from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. Preventive medicine. 2009;48(5):486-492.
  5. O’Doherty MG, Cairns K, O’Neill V, et al. Effect of major lifestyle risk factors, independent and jointly, on life expectancy with and without cardiovascular disease: results from the Consortium on Health and Ageing Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States (CHANCES). European journal of epidemiology. 2016;31(5):455-468.
  6. Li K, Husing A, Kaaks R. Lifestyle risk factors and residual life expectancy at age 40: a German cohort study. BMC medicine. 2014;12:59.
  7. Manuel DG, Perez R, Sanmartin C, et al. Measuring Burden of Unhealthy Behaviours Using a Multivariable Predictive Approach: Life Expectancy Lost in Canada Attributable to Smoking, Alcohol, Physical Inactivity, and Diet. PLoS Med. 2016;13(8):e1002082.
  8. NIH. Cancer Statistics - National Cancer Institute. 2015; Accessed April 29, 2019.
  9. Elwood P, Galante J, Pickering J, et al. Healthy lifestyles reduce the incidence of chronic diseases and dementia: evidence from the Caerphilly cohort study. PloS one. 2013;8(12):e81877.