The Difference Between a Long and a Healthy Life

Modern medical and technological advances are increasing the human lifespan. Our goal shouldn’t be to simply extend our lives, but to add healthy years!

At BodyWHealth we advocate for a lifestyle that extends your life, and prevents premature death. But that’s not enough. We want you to live a healthy life, and a happy life.

Most recent WHO statistics show that average life expectancy in the USA is 79.3 years (81.6 for women and 76.9 for men) which compares favorably against the rest of the world where the average citizen lives for 71.4 years (73.7 for women and 69.1 for men). US citizens will live 11% longer lives than the global average. Throughout the world, women live longer than men.

The problem is that the risk of disease increases as we age, unless we’re lucky and/or take great care of ourselves. Although the world population is gradually aging, the burden of disease in the elderly is also increasing. If we’re interested in living both long and healthy lives, we need to turn to another important health statistic known as Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE).

Healthy life expectancy in the USA is 69.1 years (70.4 for women and 67.7 for men) compared with the rest of the world where the average citizen lives for 63.1 years (64.6 for women and 61.6 for men). Again, women have a slight advantage over men.

Japan leads the world rankings for healthy life expectancy. The average person lives for 74.9 years (77.2 years for women and 72.5 years for men) in Japan. The USA boasts a dismal 36th place on the same ranking, a full 5 years shorter than their peers in Japan.

There are two big problems with all these statistics.

The first is that, in the US, 13% of our lifespan is considered “unhealthy” (14% for women, 12% for men). If our objective is to live long and healthy, this percentage is unacceptable, and reflects the growing epidemic of lifestyle disease.

Secondly, whereas life expectancy has increased by 2.5 years in the USA (5 years in the global population), healthy life expectancy has increased by only 1.9 years (4.6 years in the global population). Only 76% of the years that we add to the life of a North American are healthy, and we know the same to be true for Europe.

The good news is that the lifestyle we recommend to extend your life – exercise, prudent calorie balance, and good sleep – has equal impact on your health. It would be fascinating data to get our hands on, but to my knowledge it’s not available, so I’m free to speculate that a far greater proportion of the years you add to your life with BodyWHealth will be healthy ones!

And that doesn’t even account for happiness. There is no composite scale yet that incorporates both health and happiness, and is regularly measured on a global scale so we can’t report any trends. Similar to physical health, the BodyWHealth lifestyle has been scientifically proven to improve happiness. So, with the additional recommendations to engage socially and live purposefully, we believe that you not only extend your life, but that the years you add will be both healthy and happy ones.

Have fun,

Roddy

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