Current behavior affects your health over next 20 years
The decisions that a person makes today concerning health and fitness may help predict his or her overall health for almost 20 years, according to new research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.
A long-term study was conducted between 1992 and 2010, involving approximately 250 women and 250 men with an average age of 45. Participants completed questionnaires and completed medical and fitness tests at four increments throughout the study. In order to understand the factors affecting the participants’ health and fitness, the researchers conducted the study using the following four stages: environmental factors, such as socioeconomic status and migration background; personal factors, such as social support and stress management strategies; behavioral factors, such as smoking, physical exercise and nutrition habits; and physical fitness and health.
The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, found that all factors affected the participants’ fitness and health at the beginning of the study. However, only the participants’ preliminary nutrition and physical exercise habits had a long-term effect on their fitness. The researchers estimated that they had an impact for as long as 18 years.
The study suggests that developing healthy habits early on in life is vital to a healthy adulthood and preventing various health conditions, researchers said. They said that they plan to conduct further research to better understand how health and fitness behaviors affect long-term health.