Here is a recent news article from the BBC, published Feb 12, 2008. It can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7240341.stm or at a related Internet link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jynQpJeo4_2jAcCV3S4Cn86qv7OgD8UOBPD82
Fit Elderly ‘Can Boost Longevity’: It is never too late to reap the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle, research has concluded.
“Scientists found 70-year-olds who take regular exercise, eat well, and do not smoke greatly increase their chance of living until 90. The researchers estimate that longevity is only at most 30% down to our genes – the rest is down to lifestyle factors. The study, by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, appears in Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers tracked 2,357 male doctors whose average age was 72 when they joined the study in the early 1980s. A total of 970 – 41% – lived to 90 or older. Those who exercised two to four times per week, did not smoke, maintained normal body weight and blood pressure, and avoided diabetes had a 54% chance of living to 90. In contrast, those who failed on each count had only a 4% chance of living to see their tenth decade. Lead researcher Dr Laurel Yates said the findings were not surprising, but it was reassuring to discover that making the effort to stay fit and healthy still paid dividends in later life. However, Dr Yates added: “Lifestyle changes are the hardest ones to make. It is a lot easier to take a pill. So the onus is on an individual.”
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England said: “It’s great that people are living longer, but it also means that many of us will face longer periods of ill health and disability in later life. In order to maintain both physical and mental health, we would urge older people to eat healthily and take regular exercise to stay fit and well.”
To be mortally afraid of death is instinctive to human beings. Most people hope they can live as long as possible. At the same time, diet and life styles are changing towards greater conveniences while sacrificing high quality food and adequate exercise. The incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes rise higher every year. Metabolic syndrome (high fasting blood sugar/insulin resistance, central obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal fat levels in the blood) is becoming more and more common. Those people with metabolic syndrome most often develop diet controlled diabetes (Type II) and are at much greater risk of having heart problems leading up to a heart attack/myocardial infarction.
It seems that our progress in science and technology makes us especially likely to want everything convenient, so people make less time or have less time to be active or eat healthily. I know from experience that the development of the Internet has ensnared many people into spending a lot of time in front of a computer. I have even heard stories of people unexpectedly found dead in front of one.
I just think that some human beings gamble poorly with their existence. If a person is over weight, has high blood pressure and smokes, then he or she has a high risk of developing metabolic syndrome. But a lot of people think they are still too young to worry about their unhealthy choices yet, or they think they will be lucky and serious disease won’t happen to them… or that these diseases aren’t so serious, or that their life won’t be worth living if they change their lifestyle. We all know someone who has already developed one of these mostly preventable diseases but still doesn’t want to change their life style.
As Dr Yates said earlier, “Lifestyle changes are the hardest ones to make. It is a lot easier to take a pill. So the onus is on an individual”…and “It’s not just luck, it’s not just genetics. … It’s lifestyle [that seems to make a big difference].”
There is a Chinese saying that goes like this, “KeLien Jr Ren, BeeYo KeO Jr Chu” or “The poor creature must have some accursed flaws.” It means that the person you see now, who is doing so poorly, must have some bad habits or traits and done things in the past that have lead to his current state. For example, the gambler who is now destitute, or the lonely old man who hit his wife and abused his family.
Some things that make us ill can’t be avoided, like being born with a genetic problem or developing a poorly known disorder like autism or multiple sclerosis. But even these illnesses can be influenced by lifestyle choices. People who want to have a healthy life should have a healthy life style first.