Discover the secrets to a long life: What determines how long we live?

Published: 19/4/2023

The passing of the world's oldest person in January this year - French nun Sister Andree, aged 118 and 340 days, sparked curiosity with many people about the secrets to a long life and why is it that some people are able to live such long lives, while others die much earlier.

With so many contributing factors to how long a person lives, there really is no definitive answer to this question. However, there are a number of factors that are generally considered to play a much larger role in determining the secrets to a long life.

Why do people live longer than others?

Nicolas Cherbuin, professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health in Canberra, said old age is determined by a combination of factors.

He explained that while many people believe that genetics determines the length of a person's life, it actually only accounts for about 25% of the equation. The remaining 75% of a person's lifespan is determined by environmental factors, such as lifestyle, diet, exercise, and mental health.

The way a person lives their life can play a significant role in determining how long they live too. For example, if a person engages in regular exercise, eats a balanced diet and avoids harmful habits such as smoking, they may have a longer lifespan than someone who does not take care of their health in these ways.

Environmental factors

In addition to genetics and lifestyle, there are also many environmental factors that can impact a person's lifespan. For example, exposure to pollution and other harmful substances can shorten a person's lifespan, while living in a clean environment can help to extend it. This is why it is so important to consider the environment in which a person lives, as it can have a significant impact on their health and lifespan.

Socioeconomic status

Another factor that is often overlooked is socioeconomic status. People who are more privileged and have more resources are often able to live healthier lives, as they have access to better education and resources. For example, they may have access to better quality food and healthcare, which can help to extend their lifespan. On the other hand, people who are less privileged may not have access to these resources, which can limit their ability to live a healthy life.

Food and nutrition

Food and nutrition also play a significant role in determining a person's lifespan. Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to extend a person's lifespan, as it can reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions such as cancer and diabetes. On the other hand, consuming a diet that is high in processed foods and low in nutrients can increase the risk of developing these conditions, and may shorten a person's lifespan.

Is it possible to extend your life expectancy?

There has been a lot of recent interest in the pursuit of wellness and eternal youth, with many people searching for the secrets to a long and healthy life.  There are many supplements, programs - even scientists who claim to have the answers to this question. However, experts warn that many of these claims are simply marketing ploys and that the real answer to a long life lies in a healthy and balanced diet, regular exercise  and a supportive social environment.

In conclusion, while there is no one answer to the question of why some people live longer than others, there are a number of factors that can play a role in determining a person's lifespan. These include genetics, lifestyle, environmental factors, and socioeconomic status, among others. By focusing on the secrets to a long life such as a healthy and balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise and a supportive environment, people can help extend their lifespan and live a long and healthy life.

By Kirsten Jakubenko

Sources:

  • https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/genes-habits-or-biohacking-what-are-the-secrets-to-a-long-life/i5omilw0k

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