Box 1. How long will you live?

From the following article:

Ageing and the mystery at Arles

Shino Nemoto and Toren Finkel

Nature 429, 149-152(13 May 2004)

doi:10.1038/429149a

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The theoretical maximum lifespan in humans is still a subject of considerable debate. For most of us, however, our life expectancy is determined not by theoretical limits but by a confluence of factors we can't control (genetic) and factors we struggle to control (behavioural and environmental). For a hint on how long you might live — or at least how long an insurance company thinks you might live — simply fill out the questionnaire below. (From ref. 36.)

Begin with the number 76 and add or subtract as follows:

If you are age 30–50 (+2), if 51–70 (+4) _____

Male (-3), Female (+4) _____

Live in an urban area of population more than 2 million (-2), or a town under 10,000 (+2) _____

One grandparent lived to age 85 (+2), or all grandparents lived to 80 (+6) _____

A parent died of cardiovascular disease or a stroke before age 50 (-4) _____

Brother, sister or parent under 50 has cancer or heart disease, or diabetes since childhood (-3) _____

Earn the equivalent of over US$50,000 (-2) _____

Finished college (+1), or have a graduate/professional degree (+2) _____

65 or over and still working (+3) _____

Live with a spouse or friend (+5) _____

Live alone (-3) and (-3) for every decade you lived alone since age 25 _____

Work behind a desk (-3), do work requiring strenuous physical labour (-3) _____

Exercise strenuously for 30 minutes 5 times a week (+4), 2–3 times a week (+2) _____

Sleep more than ten hours a day (-4) _____

Personality is relaxed (+3) or intense (-3), happy (+1) or unhappy (-2) _____

Speeding ticket in the previous year (-1) _____

Drink the equivalent of 1 oz of liquor per day (-1) _____

Smoke more than 2 packs per day (-8), 1–2 packs/day (-6), or 1/2–1 pack/day (-3) _____

Overweight by 50 lbs or more (-8), 30–49 lbs (-4), 1–29 lbs (-2) _____

If over age 40, do you have a check-up or (if female) see a gynaecologist annually? (+2) _____

Calculated life expectancy ______

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