In the US, Life expectancy at birth in 2009 is 78.5 years.
World Health Organization (2011). Global Health Observatory
From 1900 through 2004, life expectancy at birth increased
from 46 to 75 years for men and from 48 to 80 years for women.
U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease
control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics,
Health, United States, (2007).
for long periods may decrease your lifespan. Unfortunately, most
people remain seated for a great portion of their day. The more
time you spend seated throughout the day, the greater your risk
for dying from all causes, presumably even if you do exercise
regularly. Reducing time seated to less than three hours a day
could add two years to one's life expectancy at birth on average.
Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C (2009).
Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease,
and cancer. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 41(5):998-1005.
Katzmarzyk PT, Lee I-M (2012). Sedentary behaviour and
life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis.
BMJ Open. 2:e000828.
A lack of leisure-time physical activity accounts for an estimated
0.9 years of life expectancy at birth in Canada.
Katzmarzyk PT (2006). Physical inactivity and life expectancy
in Canada. J Phys Act Health. 3, 381.
In the US, Smoking is associated with 2.5 and 1.8 years of
life expectancy at birth in men and women, respectively.
Danaei G, Rimm EB, Oza S, et al. (2010) The promise of
prevention: the effects of four preventable risk factors on national
life expectancy and life expectancy disparities by race and county
in the United States. PLoS Med, 7.
In adult 35 years of age and older, attempted weight loss
is associated with lower all-cause mortality, independent of
weight change. Self-reported intentional weight loss is associated
with lower mortality rates, but unintentional weight loss is
associated with higher mortality rates (Greg 2003).
Also see Obesity
Researchers at Harvard University analyzed data on 11,703
subjects over 30 years to study the effects of weight cycling
on life expectancy.
- Those whose weight remained stable had a lower mortality
- Those who lost weight who lost weight were more likely to
die than those who gained weight.
- Men who gained more than 11 lbs (5 kg) were 36% more likely
to die than those whose weight remained stable.
- Men who lost more than 11 pounds were 57% more likely to
- Those who had lost 11 pounds over the decade had lost and
gained and average of 100 lbs (45 kg) over their lifetimes.
It was proposed the stress of yo-yo dieting contributed to
a higher death rate. The researchers concluded it was probably
better to remain slightly overweight than to weight cycle due
to the high recidivism rate of dieters.
Do Yo-yo dieters die young? Health 7(2):10, 1993.
- Exercise can add 2 years to your life (Paffenbarger &
- Exercising briskly can add at least 3 years to your life
- Those who exercise regularly are 65 percent less likely to
die prematurely than those who are unfit (Blair et al 1989).
Fitness & Mortality
Fitness level is far more important than body weight as a
predictor of longevity. Individuals as great as 50 pounds over
the recommended weight in height/weight charts have lower mortality
rates than thin people who were sedentary (Blair & Paffenbarger,
1994; Blair, et al., 1989).
Poor physical fitness is directly linked to higher disease
rates and higher death from all causes (Andrew, et al. JAMA
Subjects: 10,000 men. Fitness level assessed on treadmill.
(Blair SH, Kohl H, 1988).
All-cause deaths per 10,000
Black Women & Heart Disease
Compared to white women, black women have a higher incidence
of heart disease and they are twice as likely to die from the