The Surprising Secrets To Living Longer And Better

The Surprising Secrets To Living Longer And Better.

People who are overweight cut their life expectancy by two months for every extra kilogram of weight they carry, research suggests. A major study of the genes that underpin longevity has also found that education leads to a longer life, with almost a year added for each year spent studying beyond school. Other key findings are that people who give up smoking, study for longer and are open to new experiences might expect to live longer. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh analysed genetic information from more than 600,000 people alongside records of their parents’ lifespan. Because people share half of their genetic information with each of their parents, the team were able to calculate the impact of various genes on life expectancy. Lifestyle choices are influenced to a certain extent by our DNA – genes, for example, have been linked to increased alcohol consumption and addiction. They found that cigarette smoking and traits associated with lung cancer had the greatest impact on shortening lifespan. Body fat and other factors linked to diabetes also have a negative influence on life expectancy.

The study also identified two new DNA differences that affect lifespan. The first – in a gene that affects blood cholesterol levels reduces lifespan by around eight months. The second – in a gene linked to the immune system – add around half a year to life expectancy. The research, published in Nature Communications, was funded by the Medical Research Council. Data were drawn from 25 separate population studies from Europe, Australia and North America, including the UK Biobank – a major study into the role of genetics and lifestyle in health and disease. Credit: Learning And Staying In Shape Key To Longer Lifespan, The University of Edinburgh, 2017.

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