premature death

Improving diet over time lowers risk of premature death

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Even modest changes can reduce total and cardiovascular mortality.

Findings from a new study have shown that people who improve the quality of their diet over time, eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish and less red and processed meats and sugary beverages, may significantly reduce their risk of premature death.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , is the first to show that improving diet quality over at least a dozen years is associated with lower total and cardiovascular mortality, and underscores the importance of maintaining healthy eating patterns over the long term.
Food groups that contributed most to an improvement in diet quality were whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish or N-3 fatty acids.

“Our results highlight the long-term health benefits of improving diet quality with an emphasis on overall dietary patterns rather than on individual foods or nutrients. A healthy eating pattern can be adopted according to individuals’ food and cultural preferences and health conditions. There is no one-size-fits-all diet,” said Frank Hu, professor and chair of the Harvard Chan School Department of Nutrition and senior study author.

Lack of autonomy at work linked to increased risk of premature death

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Those working in high stress jobs, with little autonomy are worst affected.

It’s well documented that workplace stress has health implications, but new research suggests it could even be a risk factor for premature death when teamed with low autonomy.

A new study has found that in individuals in low-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 15.4 per cent increase in the likelihood of death, compared to those with low job demands.  For those in high-control jobs, high job demands were associated with a 34 per cent decrease in the likelihood of death compared to low job demands.

The authors hypothesise that giving employees more autonomy could reduce the risk. Lead author,Erik Gonzalez-Mulé  commented: “You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow them [employees] to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritise their decision-making and the like.”

The authors said stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health when paired with high autonomy. “A stressful job then, instead of being something debilitating, can be something that’s energising. You’re able to set your own goals, you’re able to prioritise work. You can go about deciding how you’re going to get it done. That stress then becomes something you enjoy,” Gonzalez-Mulé said.