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Healthy LifeHealth professionals, policy makers and individuals can potentially improve the chances of having a healthier life by addressing the complex interactions between genetics, development, and life events and lifestyles. Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which may improve your lung health and help avoid asthma attacks. Aim for 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. Eating fish often may help with your asthma too. People taking medicine for mental-health problems should not stop taking these medications, no matter how “well” they feel, until they have discussed their situation with their prescribing doctor(s).

There is no healthy level of smoking, it harms people of all ages. Scientific evidence shows that if you smoke you face much higher risks of death and or illness from many different cancers, heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, emphysema and other respiratory diseases, pregnancy complications and many more conditions. Those who smoke are also less physically fit and have more breathing problems.

Cut down on processed food. Processed food is not good because (a) most nutritional value is lost in the creation of these foods and (b) the added preservatives are bad for our health. Many processed foods contain a high amount of salt, which leads to higher blood pressure and heart disease. In general, the more ingredients a food has on the label (ending with ‘ite’ or ‘ate’), the more processed it is. Eating 50 grams of processed meat a day has also been found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. 7 Go for less processed food, such as a baked potato over chips, a fresh fruit over canned fruit, steamed fish over canned fish, or organic produce over food with high preservatives.

A Healthy Life Years (HLY) improvement is the main health goal for the EU. The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) aims to increase the average healthy lifespan of Europeans by 2 years by 2020. 44 per cent of the diabetes burden, 23 per cent of the ischaemic heart disease burden and between seven and 41 per cent of certain cancer burdens that are attributable to overweight and obesity. (Source: The World Health Organisation).

Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years that would be lived by babies born in a given time period if mortality levels at each age remain constant. Similarly, life expectancy at age 65 is the average number of remaining years of life that a man or woman aged 65 will have if mortality levels at each age over 65 remain constant.