Poor Choices and Life Expectancy

Via EurekAlert!, an estimate of the cost of poor lifestyle choices: "A new study [estimates] that smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity currently reduce life expectancy in the U.S. by 4.9 years in men and 4.1 years in women. It is the first study to look at the effects of those four preventable risk factors on life expectancy in the whole nation. ... Smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and obesity are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, in the U.S. each year. ... For their study, the researchers used 2005 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and an extensive review of epidemiologic studies on the effects of these factors. They estimated the number of deaths that would have been prevented in 2005 if exposure to the four risk factors had been reduced to their optimal levels or commonly used guidelines. They also assessed the benefits for life expectancy, a measure of longevity. ... As a result of these patterns, smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity account for almost 20% of disparities in life expectancy across the U.S. These four factors also accounted for three quarters of disparities in cardiovascular mortality and up to half of disparities in cancer mortality."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/hsop-fpr031710.php

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