Behavioral Longevity: The Impact of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity on Life Expectancy

(1) North Oconee High School, Bogart, Georgia, (2) University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, Georgia

This paper attempts to contribute to our understanding of human longevity by focusing on the impact of our daily life on longevity. In analyzing cross-sectional data from 174 countries in 2015 that are publicly available, e.g., from the World Health Organization, we assumed a simple linear relationship between life expectancy and behavioral factors when other factors, e.g., medical and environmental factors, are held constant. We estimated the parameter values of the behavioral factors in the equation by representing the relationships using ordinary least squares. With the approximately 89% explanatory power in the variation of longevity in the sample of 174 countries, we conclude that an average person’s life expectancy in those 174 countries can increase by more than 3 years if smoking and alcohol consumption is reduced by a half and weight is decreased by 10%.

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