Few of us consider the lasting health implications of that extra glass of wine or skipping a session at the gym - but new research from Bupa suggests that unhealthy lifestyle habits shave up to 12 years off our life expectancy
A new study by Bupa suggests that the average Brit has a ‘Health Age’ that’s 12 years older than our real age – and it’s all down to our unhealthy habits from bad diet to excessive drinking, smoking and a lack of exercise.
Worryingly, more than one in eight of us are at risk of decreasing our life expectancy by up to 20 years.
‘We all know that bad habits such as smoking and drinking too much damage our health but these findings show the real impact of our habits and the number of years we’re knocking off our lives unnecessarily,’ says Dr Annabel Bentley, medical director for Bupa Health and Wellbeing.
To empower people to roll back the clock, Bupa have launched a new online Health Age Calculator, which allows users to assess how their daily habits affect their life expectancy based on details about their stature and unhealthy tendencies.
The calculator quantifies how many years someone can add to their life by making simple lifestyle changes and provides recommendations for lowering their health age.
‘It’s never too late to make a change for the better,’ says Dr Bentley.
‘Whether you’re in your 20s or your 70s, you could add years to your life by making lifestyle changes,’ she says. A 25 year-old woman who drinks 20 units of alcohol a week could add three years to her life by drinking just three fewer glasses of wine according to Bupa’s findings.
The survey of nearly 5,000 adults across Britain also revealed that being in a long-term relationship has a positive impact on Health Age, increasing potential life expectancy by up to four years.
To find out how your lifestyle is affecting your age and how to make a change, complete the health age calculator at www.bupa.co.uk/findhealthy – and let us know what you think by leaving your comment in the box below.