Good health and long life: what is needed for this?

Experts told what each of us needs to do in order not to get sick, and what measures the state takes for this

Last year, our country set a historical record: for the first time in the history of statistical observations, the average life expectancy in  Russia  was almost 73 years (72.7 years).

Russia faces the task of joining the “club of 80+ countries”. Of course, we are talking about healthy longevity – so that at a mature, “silver” age, a person maintains vigor, good health and can enjoy life, and not suffer from serious illnesses.

To achieve such goals, mutual efforts are needed: on the one hand, the state should take the necessary measures to improve the health of the population, on the other hand, active longevity is impossible without increasing the attention of people themselves to their own health, experts emphasize.


Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Veronika Skvortsova:

By 2025, we need to increase the proportion of citizens committed to a healthy lifestyle to 60%. At the same time, it is necessary to reduce tobacco consumption among the adult population to 27%, alcohol per capita among the adult population to 10 liters per year.


For the first time in Russia, the  Ministry of Health  is creating a system of public health, that is, a system of motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which means increasing the duration and improving the quality of life. An obligatory component of such a system is the motivation of each person, familiarization with the culture of a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, it is important that the approach to a healthy lifestyle is reasonable, without excessive fanaticism, does not carry with it painful restrictions that, instead of being useful, can further increase everyday stress. What does the “correct” healthy lifestyle look like?

“From a very large number of parameters, we identified five, on the basis of which we formed a “healthy lifestyle commitment index,”  Oksana Drapkina, director of the National Medical Research Center for Preventive Medicine, told reporters . According to her, the main components of a healthy lifestyle are:

1) Do not smoke.

2) Have vegetables and fruits in the diet – preferably more than 400 g per day.

3) Do not get carried away with salt – the daily norm is not more than 5 g, including salt in the composition of ready meals.

4) Do not abuse alcohol (risks of all-cause mortality are significantly increased with consumption of more than 30 ml of ethanol per day, and consumption of more than 60 ml of ethanol is considered dangerous abuse).

5) Be physically active, which requires at least 1 hour of walking per day or at least 30 minutes of intense exercise daily.

Compliance with these relatively simple rules is clearly associated with a decrease in mortality from all cardiovascular diseases, Oksana  Drapkina noted .


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a healthy lifestyle as follows: it is the behavior and thinking of a person that ensures the protection and promotion of health; an individual system of habits, a system of life that allows you to maintain health at a safe level.

 In a word, in order for a person to start leading a healthy lifestyle and embark on the path to active longevity, it is first of all necessary to be motivated, aware of the need and willingness to follow the very rules that will allow you to feel safe and solve all the necessary daily tasks.

WHO also highlights the four most common factors that  adversely affect human healthif he ignores a healthy lifestyle and his life is organized incorrectly:

– Psycho-emotional overload (that is, stress).

– Insufficient physical activity.

– Poor diet and associated overweight.

– Bad habits: smoking, alcohol abuse, drug addiction.


Of course, human behavior is largely influenced by the external environment, including within the framework of the rules established by the state. Therefore, legislation plays an important role in motivation for a healthy lifestyle, experts explain. In this case, the “medical principle” can operate: during treatment, it is painful and unpleasant, but its goal is recovery. Similarly, some legislative measures to promote healthy lifestyles may not initially be fully approved by citizens, but the results confirm that the decision was the right one and brought tangible benefits.

In our country, a striking example of such a situation was the adoption of the   famous law “On protecting the health of citizens from the effects of second hand tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco consumption” developed by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation . Initially, there were protests against the restriction of smoking in public places and other norms (tobacco lobbyists played a significant role in fueling the “popular outrage”), and today Russia is one of the recognized world leaders in the fight against tobacco smoking: from 2009 to 2016, the prevalence of smoking in the Russian Federation decreased by 22%. It is no coincidence that it was Russia that was entrusted with chairing the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was held in 2017 in  India .

“We are already receiving data that the incidence of non-communicable diseases associated specifically with tobacco consumption has begun to decrease, the number of teenagers who smoke has decreased, and the number of adults who smoke has decreased. All this is a consequence of the competent work of the ministry, government, the State Duma to promote the right laws, ”said Galina Sakharova, chief researcher at the Research Institute for Health Organization and Informatization, in an interview . Thanks to the ban on smoking in workplaces and catering facilities alone, 20 million non-smokers have been freed from passive smoking, which is also a serious health risk, she said.


In addition to reducing the prevalence of smoking in Russia, alcohol consumption per capita has decreased by almost 40% since 2006, according to the Ministry of Health. Such results were achieved, among other things, thanks to the ban on the sale of alcohol at cultural and sports facilities, in educational and medical organizations. 

In general, work to reduce the abuse of unsafe products (tobacco and alcohol) is carried out within the framework of the concept, calculated until 2020, the department explains. The document, among other measures, provides for a ban on the retail sale of alcohol from 23.00 to 08.00. The Ministry of Health also welcomes initiatives related to tightening control over the circulation of ethyl alcohol, increasing the excise rate on alcohol and limiting the availability of such drinks to the public.


Systematic work carried out by the Ministry of Health together with other departments and regional authorities has made it possible over the past years to significantly reduce alcohol consumption per capita – by almost 40%; tobacco – in adults by 22%, and in adolescents by 2.5 times; while the number of people regularly engaged in physical education and sports increased to 34%.


Along with the legislation, the actual conditions for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as the necessary infrastructure, are certainly important. And in this direction, the Ministry of Health is also consistently taking serious measures, experts say. 

So, now in Russia the creation of the main elements of the infrastructure of the regional system for the prevention of non-communicable diseases and the formation of a healthy lifestyle is being completed. General methodological support is provided by the National Medical Research Center for Preventive Medicine of the Russian Ministry of Health. 

Regional centers of medical prevention act as the core of the system in the regions, while health centers and departments (offices) of medical prevention based on polyclinics work directly with the population. According to the latest data, there are more than 750 health centers in our ).

In 2017, more than 4.5 million people visited such centers, including about 1.2 million visits by children. At the same time, the Ministry of Health plans to significantly expand the functionality of health centers at the next stage of creating the system.

A powerful way to prevent serious diseases and increase motivation for a healthy lifestyle has also become a  universal free medical examination .

 “Since 2013, we have resumed mass preventive health screenings at a modern level,” recalled Veronika Skvortsova in one of her speeches. “In 2017, 48.5 million people, both children and adults, underwent medical examinations.”