Scientists narrow down the two big factors that help you live longer

Maintaining a healthy weight is key to living longer, a large genetic study found. Source: Getty

Scientists have sifted through a huge amount of research to narrow down what actually helps you live longer, and it comes down to two things.

Maintaining a healthy weight and getting an education are the two big factors that increase longevity, the study conducted by the University of Edinburgh found, after looking at data from 25 separate population studies done in Australia, the US, Canada and Europe. 

The study looked at the genes that determine your lifespan, and by comparing the genes of more than 600,000 people, alongside records of those people’s parents lifespans, the scientists were able to work out what impact various genes had on life expectancy. They then used that information to determine what lifestyle factors impacted life expectancy the most.

According to a report on the research in Science Daily, people who are overweight reduce their life expectancy by about two months for every extra kilogram (2.2 pounds) they carry.

And the other key finding was that every year spent studying beyond high school adds an extra year to life. 

Ad. Article continues below.

Unsurprisingly, smoking is the most important factor when it comes to shortening lifespan – smoking a pack a day knocks on average seven yeras off life expectancy. But smokers that give up eventually have the same life expectancy as non-smokers.

Body fat and other factors linked to diabetes are also lifespan-shorteners, Science Daily reported.

Jim Wilson, a professor at the university, told Science Daily that the sheer amount of data the researchers had access to allowed them to compare behaviours and tell the difference between what were just associated elements and what actually had a impact on lifespan.

The full research was published in Nature Communications journal.

Do you think you’re doing all you can to achieve a longer life?