Over-indulging can take hours off your life this Christmas

It may be the season to eat, drink and be merry, but each day of over-indulging can take several hours off your life, according to a Christmas article published on bmj.com today, their way ofusing speed of aging and “microlives” to communicate the effects of lifetime habits and environment and have a laugh on science media in 2012.

Activities like smoking, having a couple of drinks, eating red meat and watching television anytime of year can each knock at least 30 minutes off your life expectancy for every day you indulge. In contrast, each day of sticking to just one alcoholic drink, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and exercising can be expected to add up to two hours to your life.

Professor David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, wanted to find a simple way of communicating the impact of our behaviors on expected length of life.

He suggests using the concept of aging faster or slower, by expressing the daily effect of lifestyle habits as “microlives” (half hours of life expectancy). A half hour of adult life expectancy can be termed a microlife as it is loosely equivalent to one millionth of life after age 35, he explains.

Using data from population studies he calculates that, averaged over a lifetime habit, a microlife can be “lost” from smoking two cigarettes, being 5 kg overweight, having a second or third alcoholic drink of the day, watching two hours of television, or eating a burger.

On the other hand, microlives can be “gained” by sticking to just one alcoholic drink a day, eating fresh fruit and vegetables, exercising, and taking statins.

Ultra Liquors supports responsible drinking. Please be safe this festive season.


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