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A Chinese man and woman on bicycles.

A recent collaboration between researchers from the China CDC and the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) team provides evidence that promoting a healthy lifestyle can increase the life expectancy of Chinese adults by reducing mortality from major diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases.

The study published in Lancet Public Health combined data from over 0.5 million adults in the CKB, over 170,000 people from the China Nutrition and Health Surveillance (CNHS), and the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) open database. Healthy lifestyles were defined by these characteristics: no smoking, no excessive drinking of alcohol, healthy eating habits, active physical activity, and healthy weight and body shape. It was found that the life expectancy at the age of 30 was 8.8 and 8.1 years longer for men and women who had the above five healthy lifestyles, respectively, compared with those who had no or only one healthy lifestyle characteristic. 72% of the increased life expectancy among women was attributable to reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease, compared with 64% among men.

These findings suggest that promoting healthy lifestyle among Chinese adults should become one of the important strategies to promote health and longevity in Healthy China 2030 – an initiative to develop and improve public health in China by 2030.