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Understanding Longevity

  • Broadcast in Health
Getting It Right With Dr Boles

Getting It Right With Dr Boles


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Newspapers wrote of the oldest person in America, a white woman in Iowa, who turned 115 on December 6, 2012.  "Longevity" is a term that refers to the average number of years that a single person lives whereas, life expectancy" refers to the number of years that the average population lives. Various factors contribute to an individual's longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, , access to health care, diet and nutrition, and exercise.  Social dynamics that affect longevity include hygiene, lifestyle and crime rates. Industrialized countries’ citizens have greater longevity than agricultural/ less industrialized countries: Canada: 81.29 years, 2010 estimate and Mozambique 41.37 years, 2010 estimate. 20-30% of an individual’s lifespan is related to genetics, the rest is due to individual behaviors and environmental factors. Studies have shown that African-American males have the shortest lifespan of any group of people in the US. People who live active lives past 100 years of age have healthy social and family lives, do not smoke, eat a plant-based diet ( consuming  legumes and nuts), engage in regular physical activity, limit alcohol consumption and sleep 7 to 8 hours per night. Recent studies find that even modest amounts of leisure time physical exercise can extend life expectancy by as much as 4.5 years.