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Every 2 lbs overweight knocks nine weeks off you life, say scientists
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
People cut their life expectancy by an average of nine weeks for every two pounds they are overweight, researchers have found. A major study examining the genetic information of more than 600,000 participants has revealed intricate links between longevity and lifestyle. The results also showed that people who smoke a packet of cigarettes a day are likely to die seven years earlier than normal. The power of big data and genetics allow us to compare the effect of different behaviours and diseases in terms of months and years of life lostProfessor Jim Wilson, University of Edinburgh The Edinburgh University scientists who conducted the research say it illustrates the power of big data to render in precise detail the probable consequences of individual lifestyle choices. According to the findings, someone who is two stone overweight is likely to die six months prematurely. While for a six foot man or woman, weighing 13 stone and three pounds is likely to cost them two months. Published in Nature Communications, the study compared the genetic information the to the lifespan of the donors’ parents. Because people share half their genetic information with each parent, the information allowed researchers to calculate the impact of various genes on life expectancy. Data was 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. How men are at greater risk than women from obesity Professor Jim Wilson, of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, said: "The power of big data and genetics allow us to compare the effect of different behaviours and diseases in terms of months and years of life lost or gained, and to distinguish between mere association and causal effect." The research also indicated that life extends for one year for every year a person stays in education after school. Overall life expectancy for both men and women has continued to increase - now standing at 79.5 and 83.1 respectively. However, analysis earlier this year by Public Health England found that for many the average healthy life expectancy - the number of years a person can expect to live largely free of illness - is less than age at which they qualify for a state pension. read more
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