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Healthier Lifestyles Would Lengthen American Lives
Date:7/7/2008

verage life span of all Americans, meanwhile, would grow by 1.3 years. That may not sound like a lot, but it's an average number and could be much higher for younger people, Robertson said.

"You really prevent serious things," she said. "If you prevent those, then that person is healthier, so they're able to engage in the things they like doing. They live to see their daughter get married or get their kids through graduation, all the things that are stolen away."

The study looked at another scenario, considered "more feasible," in which smaller numbers of people started taking better care of themselves. Among other things, 20 percent of obese people would lose enough weight to stop being clinically obese, and 30 percent of smokers would quit.

Under that scenario, the number of heart attacks would fall by 36 percent and strokes by 20 percent.

The findings were expected to be published in both the July 29 issue of the journal Circulation and the August issue of Diabetes Care.

In another study released Monday, Norwegian researchers report that short bursts of intense exercise appear to do a better job of reducing metabolic syndrome -- linked to heart problems -- than longer, less vigorous exercise.

The intense bouts of exercise weren't exhausting, though, and didn't require participants to push their hearts to their top levels of endurance, said study co-author Ulrik Wisloff, a researcher with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. The study will be published in the July 22 issue of Circulation.

More information

Learn about heart-healthy habits from the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., chief science officer, American Heart Association, Dallas. July 29, 2008; Ulri
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