Saturday, March 17, 2012

Top 10 Countries with Longevity


Earlier, when I was staying in Malaysia, I never took health seriously. I didn't care much about the way I eat and the way I live until I moved to the United States of America and begin to see the danger of health problems among the Americans who suffer from obesity, cancer diseases, high blood pressure and diabetics due to highly consumption of junk food, fast food, processed food and soft drink.

In order to stay healthy, you should emphasize healthy lifestyle:
  • To consume more vegetable and fruits than meat each day. It's suggested to consume more home cooked food in order to maintain low calories and to cut down from taking too much of fatty, salty and oily food.
  • Daily exercising such as walking around neighbourhood for about 30 minutes per day.  
  • Avoid excessive liquor and smoking as well as to prevent from taking too much of junk food, fast food, sweet dessert and cake including soft drink.
  • Coping well with stress also helps to reduce the risk of health problems.
 

Top 10 Hotspots for Human Longevity

In 1513, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León set sail in search of Bimini, a mythical land said to house a spring that restored youth to anyone who drank from it. After scouring the Caribbean and Florida, he returned empty-handed, and the Fountain of Youth remained undiscovered. Perhaps he was just looking in the wrong place.

As part of their data collection for the World Factbook, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) combs through death certificates, recording race, gender, cause of death, and other factors to estimate the life expectancy of a nation's entire population. Calculating the average life expectancy of the world's total population at 67.59 years, the CIA has determined which societies live longer.

In the United states, average life expectancy is 78.49 years, well above the world's norm. Many experts attribute this to ongoing medical developments, which have dealt with conditions that used to mow us down early. Meanwhile, nations without advanced medical care report a much shorter life expectancy. For instance, citizens of the Republic of Chad in central Africa are only expected to live until their late 40s.

Despite the fact that the average American lives into his or her late 70s, the United States ranks 50th on the CIA's life expectancy list. According to the World Factbook, these 10 nations seem to have discovered the secret to longevity--no magical spring water required.

10. Italy
Average Life Expectancy: 81.86 years
Italians live an average of 3.37 years longer than Americans. Many experts draw a connection between their longevity and diet--which is more than just pasta, meat, and cheese. The Mediterranean diet is credited with lowering the risk for all sorts of diseases. The antioxidants found in olive oil and red wine--two key features of an Italian meal--can improve cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and stave off heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Italians also rely on spices like basil, oregano, and garlic to flavor their cuisine, while Americans depend heavily on salt. As such, Italians improve their odds against high blood pressure and stroke.

9. Australia
Average Life Expectancy: 81.90 years
Australia's long life expectancy can be attributed to several factors, including relatively low smoking and obesity rates, as well as an active lifestyle enjoyed by its citizens. But many Australian medical experts insist that the secret to Aussies' longevity is universal healthcare. While the ability to obtain healthcare in the United States depends heavily on employment status and personal wealth, Australians have access to necessary care no matter how much they make. That said, Aussies shouldn't get too comfortable; the obesity rate is steadily climbing, which could undercut their longevity in years ahead.

8. Hong Kong
Average Life Expectancy: 82.12 years
Hong Kongers can expect to live nearly four years longer than Americans. Like Italians, people from Hong Kong can partly attribute their longer lives to their diet--rice, vegetables, and tofu are staples--and active lifestyle. Hong Kong reports a much lower obesity level than the United States does, as well as fewer instances of obesity-related health conditions, like diabetes.

7. Guernsey
Average Life Expectancy: 82.24 years
This small island in the English Channel is not a member of the United Kingdom or the European Union, despite being a British crown dependency. Its independence means Guernsey has not been affected by its neighbors' flailing economies. How does this tie into the long life expectancies of Channel Islanders? One theory: Guernsey residents live longer because they are wealthy, which affords them above-average healthcare and better nutrition. Channel Islanders are well-off, thanks to Guernsey's extremely low tax rates and high-paying jobs.

6. Andorra
Average Life Expectancy: 82.50 years
Several factors may explain why Andorrans outlive residents of other countries. First, this tiny nation, sandwiched between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains, promotes an active, outdoor lifestyle. Residents have easy access to hiking trails and ski resorts, while clean and well-maintained parks are often used for friendly games of soccer and rugby. Its citizens spend lots of time outside, which experts say can lower stress levels and consequently, cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure. Secondly, the CIA states that 100 percent of Andorra's population is educated. High education levels account for Andorra's extremely low unemployment rate. This means most Andorrans can afford high-quality nutrition and healthcare.

5. San Marino
Average Life Expectancy: 83.07 years
Europe's third smallest state--behind Vatican City and Monaco--and the world's oldest republic has a life expectancy that trumps the United States by 4.5 years. Money plays a major role here, as it does in both Guernsey and Andorra, but another key ingredient could be the nation's work environment. This enclave on the Italian peninsula didn't rake in its riches through manual labor. San Marino's primary industries are banking and tourism, with the majority of the Sammarinese working in office settings. This drastically reduces the number of work-related deaths--a big problem elsewhere.

4. Singapore
Average Life Expectancy: 83.75 years
A sound diet and a clean environment contribute to the longevity exhibited by the population of this fast-paced city-state, located on the southern edge of the Malay Peninsula. Like in Hong Kong, Singapore's cuisine centers on rice and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients that help keep residents healthy and active. Singapore's government also enforces a strict code of cleanliness--such as heavily restricted smoking areas--to ensure that all residents live in healthy surroundings. Interestingly, back in the 1980s, the government recognized that the nation's population was aging steadily, and with careful planning, Singapore now features excellent healthcare facilities and programs for the elderly.

3. Japan
Average Life Expectancy: 83.91 years
Japan boasts an impressive obesity rate: 3.1 percent compared with 33.9 percent in the United States. Much of the credit is owed to the Japanese diet, which revolves around fresh vegetables, rice, and most importantly, fish. Fresh fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids encourage healthy brain function, helping prevent diseases like Alzheimer's. The Japanese also make healthier lifestyle choices: They tend to walk more and not overeat.

2. Macau
Average Life Expectancy: 84.43 years
Like several other nations on this list, Macau can attribute its high life expectancy, at least somewhat, to its fruitful economy. But why this tiny nation in the South China Sea is so prosperous might surprise you: Gambling is its main source of revenue, and 70 percent of the money generated on the casino floor is reportedly invested by the Macau government in public healthcare. The island boasts a variety of casinos, many of which are owned by the same bigwigs who gave Las Vegas its "Sin City" reputation. In January 2012, Macau welcomed 2,461,640 visitors looking to test Lady Luck.

1. Monaco
Average Life Expectancy: 89.68 years
Residents of Monaco live, on average, 5.25 years longer than the second longest-living nation, Macau; that's approximately a decade longer than the average American. Monaco shares several aspects with other long-living nations, including an abundance of wealth and state-funded healthcare. Monaco residents also live on a Mediterranean diet, which is associated with a reduced risk for a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. But many say it's Monaco's relaxing atmosphere that keeps residents hanging on until a ripe old age. Its location along the Mediterranean Sea and clean environment do their part to reduce stress, which can lower immunity and contribute to cardiovascular diseases. Maybe Ponce de León should have stayed closer to home in his search for the Fountain of Youth.

(Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/top-10-hotspots-human-longevity-165933132.html)



Red meat: What is a 13% increase in the risk of death?    
By Ruth Alexander 16 March 2012 Last updated at 07:11 ET   Source: BBC News 

Eating an extra portion of red meat every day will increase your risk of death by 13% annually, according to a new study. It sounds scary - but is it? 
(Photo: BBC News) 

Harvard Medical School researchers have concluded that a diet high in red meat can shorten life expectancy.

They studied the diets and health of more than 120,000 people over the course of more than 20 years and found that red meat is associated with an increased risk of fatal heart disease and terminal cancer.

Over the study period, an extra portion of unprocessed red meat was associated with an overall 13% increased risk of death annually (and the figure for processed meat was even higher).

But what does this mean?

The easiest way to understand it is to think of how this might affect two friends who live very similar lives, according to David Spiegelhalter, a Cambridge University biostatistician, and the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk.

Imagine that the two friends are men aged 40, who are the same weight, do the same amount of exercise and do the same job.

The only difference between them is that one eats an extra portion of red meat every day - an extra 85g, or 3oz.

"Let's say that every work lunchtime one of them had a hamburger and the other didn't.

"What the study found is that the one who likes the meat had a 13% extra risk of dying. They're both going to die in the end, but one has got this extra annual risk of dying."

But what does that extra risk amount to in practice - for these two average people? The paper doesn't say.

Spiegelhalter has been working it out.

"The person who eats more meat is expected to live one year less than the person who doesn't eat so much meat. You'd expect the 40-year-old who does eat the extra meat to live, on average, another 39 years, up to age 79, and the person who doesn't eat so much meat, you'd expect him to live until age 80."

So all those headlines, and it turns out we are talking about whether you might live to age 79 or 80.

Maybe you feel willing to sacrifice that year in order to enjoy a life full of roast beef and steak sandwiches.

But Spiegelhalter says there is another way to look at the statistics, which might make the issue seem more urgent. That one year off the life of this 40-year-old hypothetical burger eater is equivalent to losing half an hour a day.

"On average, when he's sitting eating his extra burger, that person is losing half an hour of life because of that meal. On average, it's equivalent - scaled up over a lifetime - to smoking two cigarettes a day, which is about half an hour off your life.

"Or, it's equivalent to being a bit overweight - about 5kg overweight - which I am, so I'm losing, on average, every day, half an hour off my life expectancy."

Which is why Spiegelhalter had just been out for a run when he spoke to the BBC. (And perhaps why he became the first OBE to take part in BBC Television's Winter Wipeout assault course challenge.) Tasty, but too many of these could shorten your life

So, that's the numbers explained. But should we really believe the findings of this study?

Does eating red meat and processed meat cause cancer and cardiovascular disease and shorten life? Well, no we can't say there's cause and effect here.

All that can be said is that there appears to be a strong correlation between eating this kind of meat and having these health problems.

So another question springs to mind - could eating red meat just be perfectly healthy in itself, but correlated with some hidden health risk?

The researchers at Harvard couldn't run a randomised controlled trial where half the participants ate burgers for two decades and the other half didn't, but they could use statistical techniques as the next best thing.

They statistically controlled for a wide number of other potential risk factors, such as alcohol consumption, calorie intake, activity levels, and family history of cancer. The link between red meat and cancer may still be a coincidence - as there may be other factors the researchers haven't controlled for - but they have certainly tried to rule out confounding factors.

In addition, Spiegelhalter points to the fact these findings chime with those of other studies.

Personally, he is going to eat more fish in the future and think of red meat as a treat. But, in the same breath, he confessed to be harbouring some tasty looking sausages in his freezer.

(Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17389938)

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