A new study shows that five simple health measures could help you and many others live a longer life.  VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the simple and cost effective steps recommended in this study.

A new study partially funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people can do some simple things to prevent a host of diseases.

For example, the research shows fewer people would die of heart disease if older adults took an aspirin a day.  The study found that fewer than half of older Americans take a daily dose of aspirin to ward off heart disease.  It concluded if that number could be increased to 90 percent, 45,000 people a year would live longer.  And that is in the U.S. alone.

Another thing people can do to avoid disease is to quit smoking. Although for many, that is easier said than done, Dr. Kathleen Tumi at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says doctors can play a major role in getting people to quit. "Doctors can have a surprising influence on patients to make a decision to stop smoking."

For example, doctors can offer medication or other assistance to help smokers try to end the habit. The report also recommends that older adults get an annual flu shot and get screened for colorectal cancer. In the U.S. less than half are up to date with any recommended screening for colorectal cancer and fewer than 37 percent of adults get an annual flu vaccine.  More women could live longer, healthier lives if they had regular mammograms. 

In short, the study shows that people could avoid illness and live longer with simple prevention measures.

Dr. Tumi adds, "What this study shows is that even a modest investment in preventive services can have a dramatic impact."

The added factor is -- these preventive measures could stretch the money available for health care.