Healthy lifestyle crucial, with or without supposedly good or bad genes

Healthy lifestyle crucial, with or without supposedly good or bad genes

Some of us are lucky enough to see our parents and grandparents enjoy healthy lives well into old age. You’d probably feel as if you’d won the genetic lottery if your 90-year-old parents still managed a round of golf now and then.

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve all heard someone lament that “they die young in my family.”

A new study reinforces that nothing is preordained when it comes to the genetic sweepstakes. Living a healthy lifestyle remains the essential ingredient in the recipe for longevity, regardless of what’s coded in your DNA.

A study published in the journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine found that a healthy lifestyle reduced the impact of life-shortening genes by as much as 60%. And for those eating a hot dog and knocking back a beer while watching their elderly parents on the 18th green, consider this:

Regardless of the magic in your genes, the study shows that living unhealthily increases the odds of dying before your time by 78%.

Investigators drew health and lifestyle data from the massive UK Biobank study and its more than 350,000 participants. The Biobank has been used for numerous studies through the years and tracked adults from 2006 to 2021.

The study also examined a person’s diet, smoking, drinking and exercise habits, as well as their genetic profile.

The results suggest we should not assume that we are either doomed or blessed by our inherited biology.

Don’t emulate the sedentary uncle who drank like a fish, denied the existence of vegetables and smoked five cigars daily until dying at age 105.

Outliers always exist. Lifestyle still matters.


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