Duh! What a shocker, right? But please don’t let that obviousness (?) keep you from reading this as it includes quality of life insights which are important.
Back in 1965 a group of researchers decided to study quality of life, not just existence. They wanted to learn the effect of personal health habits on the quality of life, chronic conditions and mortality. The researchers decided to study the health practices of a large sample of the population of Alameda County in California. The information for the study came from 6,928 residents in Alameda county. There were 3,158 men and 3,770 women. The sample included 360 men and 530 women over the age of 65.
Each participant answered surveys regarding marital and life satisfaction, parenting, physical activities, employment, childhood experiences, and demographic data. In addition, participants were asked to report levels of disability “without complaints,” “symptomatic,” “chronic conditions,” “disability-less,” and “disability-severe.”
Using data from the 1965 Alameda group, the researchers examined nightly hours of sleeping, regularity of meals, including breakfast, maintenance of a healthy weight for their height, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking and other health practices.
Additional analyses were performed to determine if these health behaviors had independent or cumulative effects on health outcomes.
The results revealed that sleeping seven to eight hours per night, eating regular meals, participating in regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and not smoking were highly correlated with healthier individuals. In contrast to previous studies, socioeconomic status was found to have no association with health. Further data analyses suggested a cumulative effect of these behaviors. This study provided initial empirical support for the link between lifestyle and health outcomes.