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Monday, October 9, 2017

A Health History

In addition to the keys to health and wellness, I tend to gravitate toward anything on the subject of longevity.  In an article titled, The Longevity Myth, the authors point out that the belief that life expectancy has grown much over the past couple hundred years is really a myth.  While average life span of the population has appeared to go up over the last century, it is not truly because people are living longer, but that not as many are dying at very young ages from disease such as meningitis and other childhood diseases that plagued society 100 years ago.

What I found very interesting in the article was a history of healthcare in our society.  Many people believe that advances in medical technology along with high-tech surgical and pharmaceutical interventions have increased our lifespan as a culture.  The authors go to great lengths to show that this is not true.  They admit that these advanced procedures will save individual lives in a time of a crisis such as a stroke or heart attack, but that the overall life expectancy of the average individual has remained around 76 – 78 years of age.

The only time that life expectancy has made a dramatic increase was between the years of 1900 and 1925.  While many might believe this shift was due to antibiotics and vaccines, it is not because they were not invented by this time.  The authors state, “The longevity gains between 1900 and 1925 have little to do with medicine and almost everything to do with lifestyle; particularly improvement in housing, sanitation, and nutrition.”  So again, it all comes back to lifestyle choices.  Remember that science shows us that the physical body is capable of living to around 130 years if we treat it right.  For the best breakdown of what lifestyle choices we should be making to increase longevity, I (as I have in the past) encourage you to read the book, Healthy at 100 by John Robbins, M.D.  This book is almost a cookbook for longevity, but just like the authors of The Longevity Myth, Dr. Robbins points out that life expectancy is a matter of lifestyle choices.

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