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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Association of Healthy Lifestyle With Years Lived Without Major Chronic Diseases

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  • Solja T Nyberg
  • Archana Singh-Manoux
  • Jaana Pentti
  • Ida E H Madsen
  • Severine Sabia
  • Lars Alfredsson
  • Jakob B Bjorner
  • Marianne Borritz
  • Hermann Burr
  • Marcel Goldberg
  • Katriina Heikkilä
  • Markus Jokela
  • Anders Knutsson
  • Tea Lallukka
  • Joni V Lindbohm
  • Martin L Nielsen
  • Maria Nordin
  • Tuula Oksanen
  • Jan H Pejtersen
  • Ossi Rahkonen
  • Reiner Rugulies
  • Martin J Shipley
  • Pyry N Sipilä
  • Sari Stenholm
  • Sakari Suominen
  • Jussi Vahtera
  • Marianna Virtanen
  • Hugo Westerlund
  • Marie Zins
  • Mark Hamer
  • G David Batty
  • Mika Kivimäki
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Importance: It is well established that selected lifestyle factors are individually associated with lower risk of chronic diseases, but how combinations of these factors are associated with disease-free life-years is unknown.

Objective: To estimate the association between healthy lifestyle and the number of disease-free life-years.

Design, Setting, and Participants: A prospective multicohort study, including 12 European studies as part of the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations Consortium, was performed. Participants included 116 043 people free of major noncommunicable disease at baseline from August 7, 1991, to May 31, 2006. Data analysis was conducted from May 22, 2018, to January 21, 2020.

Exposures: Four baseline lifestyle factors (smoking, body mass index, physical activity, and alcohol consumption) were each allocated a score based on risk status: optimal (2 points), intermediate (1 point), or poor (0 points) resulting in an aggregated lifestyle score ranging from 0 (worst) to 8 (best). Sixteen lifestyle profiles were constructed from combinations of these risk factors.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The number of years between ages 40 and 75 years without chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Results: Of the 116 043 people included in the analysis, the mean (SD) age was 43.7 (10.1) years and 70 911 were women (61.1%). During 1.45 million person-years at risk (mean follow-up, 12.5 years; range, 4.9-18.6 years), 17 383 participants developed at least 1 chronic disease. There was a linear association between overall healthy lifestyle score and the number of disease-free years, such that a 1-point improvement in the score was associated with an increase of 0.96 (95% CI, 0.83-1.08) disease-free years in men and 0.89 (95% CI, 0.75-1.02) years in women. Comparing the best lifestyle score with the worst lifestyle score was associated with 9.9 (95% CI 6.7-13.1) additional years without chronic diseases in men and 9.4 (95% CI 5.4-13.3) additional years in women (P < .001 for dose-response). All of the 4 lifestyle profiles that were associated with the highest number of disease-free years included a body-mass index less than 25 (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) and at least 2 of the following factors: never smoking, physical activity, and moderate alcohol consumption. Participants with 1 of these lifestyle profiles reached age 70.3 (95% CI, 69.9-70.8) to 71.4 (95% CI, 70.9-72.0) years disease free depending on the profile and sex.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this multicohort analysis, various healthy lifestyle profiles appeared to be associated with gains in life-years without major chronic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJAMA Internal Medicine
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)760-768
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

ID: 61532679