A large UK-based longevity analysis suggests that overweight people reduce their life by two months for each additional kilogram of weight they add to their body. On the other hand, education enhances lifespan by nearly a year for every year spent on studies after school.
Other key observations of the study include that people, who quit smoking, study longer after school and openness to new experiences, can expect to live longer.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh studied genetic information sourced from over 600,000 people along with the lifespan of their parents. The team calculated the effect of different genes on life expectancy by analyzing the data since every person inherits half of the genetic traits from both the parents.
The research suggested that certain genes affect lifestyle. For instance, several genes are found to increase alcohol consumption and other addictions. The researchers concluded that the genes have the greatest influence on a person’s lifespan.
Their method was designed in a way to exclude the probability of any identified observation could be caused by a linked or separate factor. This enabled them to exactly know which lifestyle factor is responsible for decrease or increase in the lifespan.
Smoking and the factors linked with lung cancer showed maximum impact on reducing the lifespan.
Body fat and factors associated with diabetes and heart ailments also have a negative impact on lifespan.
The study also successfully identified two new differences in DNA that influence lifespan. A gene, which affects cholesterol levels in blood, reduces lifespan by approximately eight months. Another gene related to immune system adds nearly six months to lifespan.
The data for the research was sourced from twenty-five different population studies from North America, Australia, Europe and UK.
Professor Jim Wilson from the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute said that the power of genetics and big data allows his research team to analyze the effect of different diseases and behaviors with respect to increase and decrease in lifespan.
Dr. Peter Joshi, chancellor’s fellow, University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute advised that losing a kilogram of weight will increase lifespan by almost two months, whereas smoking a pack everyday reduces lifespan by an average of seven years.