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Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests

Teen sailor won't go unassisted

A malfunctioning autopilot has caused Abby Sunderland, 16, to abandon her effort to become the youngest person to sail nonstop and unassisted around the world. "I gave it my best shot and made it almost halfway around the world," she wrote on her blog, saying she will dock for repairs in South Africa. After the repairs, she plans to continue the journey. "This whole trip came from a dream, a dream to sail around the world, and that is what I am doing— youngest or not, non-stop or stopping." Sunderland set sail in January from near her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Not for sale

• Developers won't be building anything behind the landmark Hollywood sign. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Monday a final $900,000 donation by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner completed the $12.5 million fundraising drive to protect the 138 acres behind the famous sign. Schwarzenegger called it "the Hollywood ending we hoped for."

• Online auction site eBay pulled a listing Monday for a van used by Dr. Jack Kevorkian to perform several assisted suicides, saying the sale of the van would violate the company's policy against the sale of "murderabilia." Bidding on the 1968 Volkswagen, which was listed as in undrivable condition, had topped $3,400 when the website closed it. Kevorkian was not involved in the offer, and his lawyer said Kevorkian thought it had been destroyed and was not happy that it was being sold.

Study: Bad habits cost you 12 years

Four common bad habits combined — smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet — can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent.

Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent.

The risky behaviors were smoking tobacco; downing more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women; getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily.

These habits combined substantially increased the risk of death and made people who engaged in them seem 12 years older than people in the healthiest group, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo. The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

"You don't need to be extreme" to be in the healthy category, Kvaavik said. "These behaviors add up. It should be possible for most people to manage to do it."

Study participants were randomly selected from participants in a separate nationwide British health survey.

The findings don't mean that everyone who maintains a healthy lifestyle will live longer than those who don't, but it will increase the odds, said June Stevens, a University of North Carolina public health researcher.

But here's good news

Brazil's health minister has a prescription for the nation's high-blood- pressure problem: more sex. Minister Jose Temporao says adults should be exercising more to help keep their blood pressure down — and he says a good cardiovascular workout includes sex, "always with protection, obviously." Temporao also recommends dancing, a healthy diet and regular blood-pressure checks. The country's Health Ministry says 24.4 percent of Brazilians had high blood pressure in 2009.

Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests 04/26/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 26, 2010 10:52pm]
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