The government has launched a new drive to encourage people to do more to look after their health and wellbeing.
The ‘Small Change Big Difference’ campaign is designed to show workers how small, easily achievable lifestyle changes – such as getting off the bus a stop earlier, walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift or eating an extra fruit or vegetable a day – can add years to a person’s life.
To coincide with the launch, the government pointed to research by Professor Kaytee Khaw of Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, suggesting that dietary changes and increased physical activity can have a major impact on causes of death and ill health, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The study of more than 30,000 people aged between 45 and 79 living in Norfolk found that, while eating the recommended five-a-day of fruit and vegetables could give you the life expectancy of someone three to four years younger, even one additional serving would boost your chances of living a longer life.
On exercise, even very moderate amounts of physical activity at work and during leisure time could add up to three extra years.
Improving diet, increasing physical activity and stopping smoking could all add up to 12 years to an individual’s life expectancy, Khaw argued.