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What determines life span?

Are genetics the only determining factor in life span? What else can affect how long we live?

5151 day(s) ago

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While genetics plays some role in the life span of human beings, it is not the major factor in determining how long a person will live. Environmental factors have a much greater weight on how long someone will live. These environmental factors include climate, disease, accidents, war, available medical treatment, and culture.

Life expectancy has increased worldwide steadily for as long as it has been measured. This is thought to be due largely to advances in medicine and disease control. Scientific findings of what makes for a healthy body have also played a major role. Healthy eating, vitamins, regular exercise, immunizations, and cleanliness all contribute to how long someone will live. The role of genetics is unknown because it is impossible to isolate a person from all of these other factors. Genetics has a relationship with some diseases, such as heart disease, that affect life span, but just because a family has a history of long life, does not guarantee long life to any individuals in that genetic line. The same is true for families having a history of short life spans.

New studies are predicting that life expectancy will decline in the United States for the first time in history due to the problem of obesity. These findings are refined by another study that says the major problem is not obesity but a lack of fitness, which tend to go hand-in-hand. Life expectancy in colonial America was only 25 years. This was due to harsh living conditions and infant mortality. Today, life expectancy in the U.S. is estimated at 78.11 years. No genetic factors have been found to contribute to this jump. The highest life expectancy in the world is in a small country near China, Macau, at 84.36 years. The lowest life expectancy is in Angola, in Africa, at 38.20 years.

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