Dr. Oz's Lifestyle Tips for Longer Life

Four lifestyle changes can reduce risk of major chronic illness by 80 percent.

ByABC News via logo
August 23, 2009, 9:20 PM

Aug. 24, 2009 — -- While it's no secret that many health experts believe diet and exercise are the keys to living a healthy life, a new study out of Germany claims that making four lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of major chronic illness by much more than previously thought.

According to the seven-year-plus study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who do not smoke, have a body mass index lower than 30, exercise for at least three-and-a-half hours each week and eat a healthy diet with many fruits, vegetables and whole-grain bread can reduce the risk of chronic illness like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and cancer by an average of nearly 80 percent.

Before his new show, "The Dr. Oz Show," gets started in September, Dr. Mehmet Oz dropped by "Good Morning America" to help explain what the study can mean for you and how you can make small changes in your life that may drastically improve your health.

The most important of these four changes, according to Oz, is to quit smoking. According to the American Heart Assocation, smoking accounts for more than 440,000 deaths every year.

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing several chronic disorders, including cancer, heart disease and stroke, according to the AHA.

"It's really hard to do it by yourself," Oz said. "Get some help."

Click here to see Dr. Oz's four-step plan to help you quit smoking.

Web sites like the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute allow users to quickly calculate their body mass index to see how it compares with the study's ideal BMI of under 30.

Click here to calculate your body mass index.

In order to help improve your body mass index, Oz suggests cutting out 100 calories from your daily diet and sticking to a sustainable weight loss program.

"We're not looking for people with a little extra weight on board," Oz emphasized, but rather those whose weight is putting their health in danger.