The holiday season may be a good time to eat, drink and have a ball but over indulgence can peel several years off one's life.
According to a recent article published in the BMJ, smoking, consuming red meat, having a couple of drinks and watching television excessively can take away 30 minutes from each day of our lives that we indulge in.
AdvertisementOn the other hand, taking just one drink, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly can add two hours to our lives.
Professor David Spiegelhalter, who is a professor of biostatistics and Winton professor for the public understanding of risk, thought it is necessary to discover a simple way of showing the impact of our every day habits on life expectancy, so that scientific communication of chronic lifestyle risks are not misinterpreted or be potentially misleading.
He termed half hour of adult life expectancy as "micro life" and explains that 'A daily loss or gain of 30 minutes can be termed a microlife, because one million half hours (57 years) roughly corresponds to a lifetime of adult exposure'. Taking information from population-related data he calculated that a micro life may be "lost" due to certain lifestyle habits such as smoking two cigarettes, being overweight by 5 kilos, consuming 2-3 alcoholic drink or eating a burger each day or watching television for two hours per day!
Further, the professor proposed that micro lives can be "gained" by maintaining a disciplined life which includes consuming just one alcoholic drink a day, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercising regularly, and taking statins.
The impact of demographic factors such as gender and nationality can also be expressed in "microlives".
This form of expression or communication allows the general public to assess the size of chronic risk that they are exposed to understand the speed at which they age and this has been effective in prompting people to stop smoking, he said.
These evaluations however have their own limits as they are approximate estimates and are based on a variety of assumptions.
However the researcher concludes that a lot of risks that we face due to daily habits can be communicated effectively in terms of the speed that one is living in, and this is effective simply because most of us do not like the idea of growing older faster.