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Gain 12 years – 4 life-increasing habits for you, and your kids

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 29-10-2010

Okay, actually, it’s four bad habits that can age you by 12 years, but still that’s 12 years you can still buy your kids if they avoid them. And if these are your bad habits, it’s never too late to change.

1. Smoking. This one is clearly the most obvious. Smoking just equals death and it’s amazing we allow cigarettes to be sold at all. We all know it’s about tobacco corporations and tax revenues, but we don’t seem to be able to put an end to it.

2. Drinking to excess, defined as more than three drinks for men and two for women per day. Even this is more than some studies suggest, and maybe more than most people can handle and still function appropriately with their kids.

3. Getting less than two hours of physical activity per week.

4. Eating less than three fruits and vegetables per day.

The British study tracked 5000 men and women over 20 years and found that of those with all four bad habits, 29% died during the study. Of those, who had all four healthy habits, only 8% died over the 20 year period. The study appears in Monday April 26, 1010 Archives of Internal Medicine.

All of these are factors that dads can help model or control. If you smoke, stop. Kids whose parents smoke, tend to smoke themselves. I smoked for fifteen years, at an age when I was too stupid to understand my own mortality. My father smoked, as well as most adults around me.

Drink only in moderation. But maybe more importantly, make sure your kids are getting exercise and developing the habit of moving their young bodies. Some suggest they should have an hour of physical playtime each day.   

Good diet is also important and maybe the hardest. Start today by counting how many fruits and vegetables they are getting every day. If it’s less than three, make an inventory of fruits and vegetables they like, stock the fridge with them, and start putting them out at every meal.