Living well Your Health & Wellness

Genes have little to do with how long you live

Written by Diane Archer

If you’re thinking that you’re likely to live a long life because your mom and dad lived to a ripe old age, think again. Stat News reports on a study of more than 400 million people, revealing that genes have little to do with how long you live. You have a lot more control over your longevity than you might think.

Based on ancestry.com data, scientists found that your genes are responsible for less than 7 percent of how long you will live. Environmental factors contribute far more heavily to how long you live. For this reason, spouses have more similar lifespans than siblings. Spouses live in the same place, so they are exposed to similar social networks, chemicals in the air, crime rates, and other external forces, all of which affect their lifespans. Spouses also tend to lead similar lifestyles, they often have similar diets and views about exercise, along with what it means to live a healthy life.

Scientists believe that high or low income levels could also explain life spans. Other factors that contribute to how long you live include education, access to health care, smoking, and societal influences.

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