The archives of Internal Medicine defines an unhealthy lifestyle as a lifestyle where a person engages in detrimental activities to one’s health, such as smoking,  alcohol, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, unmanaged stress and not maintaining a healthy weight.  Researchers have found that the four major lifestyle factors that play a role in one-third of all death are obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and a poor diet.  According to World Health Organisation recent report, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.

A man’s life can be shortened by the impact of unhealthy lifestyle of little exercise, poor diet, and smoking as scientists have found that it can reduce lifespan by 23years. Research has shown that most of the non-communicable diseases are caused by preventable risk factors which are raise by these risk factors – smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol.  These four can cause metabolic/physiological changes in the body leading to raise blood glucose (diabetes), overweight/obesity, raised cholesterol and raise blood pressure (hypertension). 

The law of sowing and reaping being a universal law applies to the treatment of the body.  If the body is continually neglected, it will eventually yield the appropriate dividends.  Our lifestyle has tremendous impact on our body being susceptible to illness and diseases with some avoidable ones.  So how does unhealthy living impact your health?

Diet and Nutrition

”Food has a more powerful impact on your body and your health than any drug your doctor could ever prescribe” Barry Sears

You are what you eat and drink and what you eat and drink will affect every part of your body.  An unhealthy diet (diet that is high in fat, sugar, and salt) and unhealthy eating habits (under and over eating) can impair your daily health and wellbeing and reduce your ability to lead an enjoyable and active life.  There are people out there who don’t feel well because they don’t eat well, they lack the required energy their bodies needs for daily living.  Not feeding your body well with the appropriate nutrients can contribute to stress, tiredness and the capacity to work, and overtime can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Lack of physical activity

“If you could rank all the proven methods known to retard the aging process and enrich our health, exercise would be at the top of the list, no wonder it is called the real fountain of youth”  Sam Varner

Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other conditions. World Health Organisation ranked physical inactivity as the 4th leading cause of global mortality.  They estimates that physical inactivity causes 6-10% of all the deaths from the major non-communicable diseases like coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer. Approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity. The effects of physical inactivity on the body and mind are grave that its adverse effects on health are comparable to that of smoking and obesity. This is because less active and less fit people have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic heart conditions.

Regular exercise has been described as self-appointed “health optimizer”.  It is the handicapper for our less than perfect lifestyle choices.  It can level the playing field by overriding many of the negative consequences related to poor eating habits, overindulgent practices, stressful living and unhealthy addictions.

Unmanaged Stress

Unmanaged stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behaviour.  Acute and chronic stress affects the brain and triggers the production of hormones, such as cortisol, that control our energy balances and hunger urges. Acute stress can trigger hormone changes that make you not want to eat. If the stress becomes chronic, hormone changes can make you eat more and store more fat.  Stress left unchecked can contribute too many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.


Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.  According to studies in UK and US, one in every 5 deaths is caused by diseases related to smoking. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, eyes, mouth, reproductive organs, bones, bladder, and digestive organs.  

Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general. It increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. Some may be fatal and others can cause irreversible long-term damage to your health.

Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.

Smoking is estimated to increase the risk—

  • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • For stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times
  • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times

The factors that impact our health negatively are within our control.  The guidebook for life on earth (The Holy Bible) clearly instructs every human on earth to treat the body with utmost respect as it’s the vehicle for fulfilling your purpose here.  No matter how lofty your vision and plans are, if you don’t feel well, you cannot live well and with no energy, you cannot achieve much.  It is a costly assumption to believe that the body can be abused through an unhealthy lifestyle and yet reap the dividends of a healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes, the impact of unhealthy lifestyle can take years to manifest.  Don’t neglect your health; you need the cooperation of your body to make impactful contribution here on earth.