Poor diet and lifestyle choices increases early mortality

Medical professionals from the University of Zurich have compiled important public health results that can be used in counseling and primary care to slash the risk of early death.

Their conclusion was general, stating that people can live longer due to an active lifestyle, more fruit and vegetable consumption, and limited cigarettes and alcohol use. However, they did show at which ages these lifestyle choices are most important and effective.

Poor lifestyle choice lead to a 2.5 fold higher mortality risk

With cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory disorders and cancer rising across the board in all industrialized countries, now is the time to hone in on preventive strategies.
That’s what the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is taking on — developing a process of national prevention strategies that will encourage healthier behavior and improve the population’s health competence.

Brian Martin and his colleagues from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Zurich looked into the combined and individual effects of four factors on life expectancy. These included tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, quality of diet and excessive alcohol consumption.

They investigated the obvious and did not look at some of the more silent destroyers of health — heavy metals and endocrine disrupters. They did not examine the importance of clean, purified un-fluoridated water. They did not track individual’s consumption of pesticides or genetically modified ingredients.

What they did find was simple. An individual who consumes excessive alcohol, smokes often, is physically inactive and eats few fruits and vegetables has a 2.5-fold higher mortality risk in epidemiological terms than an individual who chooses much healthier habits

Their numbers practically anointed healthy lifestyle choices. As lead author Eva Martin-Diener put it, “A healthy lifestyle can help you stay ten years’ younger.”

Smoking increases risk of premature death nearly four times faster than excessive alcohol consumption

Their numbers are derived from data taken from the Swiss National Cohort. Lifestyle choices of 16,721 participants were compared and analyzed. The age range studied (16-90 year olds) was inclusive, and the years studied were from 1977 to 1993. The participants’ deaths were studied up until 2008.

“The effect of each individual factor on life expectancy is relatively high,” stated Eva Martin-Diener. Their results conclude that smoking is the most harmful lifestyle choice; smokers had a 57 percent higher risk of premature death than nonsmokers. Excessive alcohol consumption had less effect on early mortality, increasing premature death by 15 percent. This shows that smoking increases risk of premature death nearly four times faster than alcohol consumption.

Poor lifestyle choices have greater effect on mortality risk for those 75 and older

The most interesting part of the study was how the lifestyle choices impacted people at different ages. According to Martin-Diener and colleagues, the most concerning lifestyle choice among all age groups was an unhealthy diet.

For those between the ages of 45 and 55, none of the four lifestyle choices had much effect on early mortality risk. On the other hand, for those between 65 and 75 years of age, these same daily choices had a much more detrimental effect on mortality risk.

The authors of the study pointed out that a 65-year-old man who made poor lifestyle choices across the board was at no greater risk of dying than a 75-year-old man who made healthy choices.

“In [the] future, doctors will be able to refer to the easily comprehensible charts when giving health counselling to their patients in primary care,” said Martin-Diener.

“Furthermore, they may also be important for the political discussions of prevention strategies for NCDs.”

Again, these general prevention strategies do not include other important lifestyle choices. The study did not speculate on heavy metal consumption through the years or exposure to BPA, fine particulate matter or pesticides.

The obvious choices like drinking alcohol and smoking are always chastised. To better prevent premature death, more studies need to focus on the health detriments that people cannot see.

lifestyle factors that influence your fertility

Research is showing that the decisions you make about your nutrition, exercise, stress, and environmental toxin exposure can influence your health and fertility. Additionally, these lifestyle factors also influence the health and development of your baby once your pregnant! While some aspects of lifestyle may not be modifiable, there are many that can be modified in order to promote health and fertility. The main factors that are influential to creating a fertile environment in both men and women include:


Eating a clean diet of organic whole foods, plenty of antioxidants in berries and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids (like those from wild salmon and cod liver oil), nuts and seeds, and protein from organic, grass-fed animals will nourish your body, support your hormones and sexual health, reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, and create a healthy, well-functioning system that is ready to support new life. Strengthening your digestive integrity with organic whole foods is a foundational step to supporting your body’s fertility. A strong digestive system promotes a healthy immunity. And it is essential in order to properly absorb, assimilate, and use the nutrients from your food.

Weight management

Body weight can have significant effects on health, and infertility is more common in those with a BMI over 25. Excess weight can be especially problematic for men because adipose tissue produces estrogen hormones and can thus disrupt the high testosterone levels that promote the growth of virulent and highly mobile sperm.


A healthy amount of physical activity promotes fertility in men and women. Being active, getting your lymphatic system circulating, exercising your heart, and strengthening your muscles all promote your health and therefore work to tonify your body and prepare for pregnancy and raising a child.

Psychological and physical stressors

While stress seems to be unavoidable (infertility itself is stressful!), it is in your best interest to find ways to manage your stress and not let it wear you down. In fact, research shows that successful fertilization of female eggs decreases when the woman is dealing with too much stress and no way to manage it.

Cigarette smoking, coffee and alcohol

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and is associated with numerous health conditions. Smoking negatively impacts the DNA of sperm in men and may decrease ovarian function, hormone levels, and menstruation in women.

Drug use (both prescription and recreational)

Not all medications have been tested for their influence on fertility, but some examples of pharmaceutical medications that can negatively influence fertility include antibiotics, antidepressants and antipsychotics, antiepileptics, anti-hypertensives, opiates, and even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil. Research is not well funded on the influence of recreational drugs on fertility, but common drugs like cannabis and cocaine do negatively influence hormones, ability of sperm to travel through the oviduct, and male production of sperm. Cannabis has been shown to disrupt the development of the brain and nervous system, predisposing the baby to neuropsychiatric illness later in life. Avoiding all pharmaceutical and recreational drugs (even coffee, tea, and alcohol) will allow your body to maintain optimal hormone levels and foster a strong reproductive system, thereby supporting fertility.

Exposure to toxins in the home and work environments

Air pollution, cleaning supplies, pesticides, personal care products, exposure to heavy metals, plastic components such as phthalates and BPA, and Teflon-coated cookware, can be contributing factors to infertility. Toxic chemicals in the environment may lead to inflammation, damage to sperm DNA, altered hormone levels, and issues regulating weight and metabolic factors. Therefore it is critical to use non-toxic products for home and personal use, eat organic food free of pesticides, cleanse your body before trying to conceive, remove all amalgam fillings, drink clean water, and avoid EMF radiation from Wi-Fi and cell phones as much as possible.

Transitioning your daily habits to be health-promoting will not only lead to your health improving, but it will create a fertile body ready for raising a baby.