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H ealth P8 10.13.2009

Volume 90

xtra Online P9

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Page Design: Wade Chimerofsky & Emma Takach

Issue 1

10.13.2009

Volume 90

Issue 1

Wade Chimerofsky Emma Takach HST Editors

Half of the babies born after the year 2000 are expected to live to 100 years of age, according to a recent study. Throughout time, humans have strived to outlive their competition. There are some factors that influence a person’s life span, such as the environment or medical history, which can not be changed. However, there are some aspects of a person’s life that can add a significant number of years onto his or her life. We asked family friends of Emma Takach, Dr. Lorraine Armstrong, a retired pediatrician, and Dr. Henry Goitz, an orthopedic surgeon, to give their advice on how to live to be 100.

Current Life Expectancy .. 77.7 years

Floss your teeth +1.5 years

Flossing at least once a day can have a huge impact on your lifespan. When a person neglects their dental hygiene, gingivitis can occur as bacteria penetrate underneath the gum line and into the bone and tissues around the teeth. The gingivitis can progress into pericoronitis (infection of the gums around the molars) which is the main predictor of heart disease. At less than two dollars, you can prevent one of the main causes of death in America.

Not+10 Smoking years

Every cigarette someone smokes takes 11 minutes off his or her life. In the United States, about 45.3 million people smoke, and half of those people will die an average of ten years earlier than those who do not smoke. A recent trend shows that smoking is becoming more prevalent in younger people. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of high school students were current smokers in 2007. Even more shocking, over six percent of middle school students were current smokers in 2006. Smokers are more likely to have illnesses during life and to die a more painful death. The best way to lengthen your life is to resist peer pressure and not engage in this dangerous habit.

Eat+10Healthy years

There are many delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables that can increase life span. Spinach and other leafy greens are known to contain vitamins such as calcium and vitamin A. Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries all contain antioxidants that can help fight disease as well as signs of aging. Another popular fruit is pomegranates. This “magic fruit” contains anthocyanins, which protect cells from cancer and reduce the likelihood of contracting age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular and neurological conditions. Eating fish is a good way to get omega-3 fatty acids and that works against body inflammation. Spices also increase general health as well as protecting against cancer and heart disease. Obesity can trim up to 10 years off your life, according to an analysis of studies that involved 900,000 people. It looks like eating your vegetables really is not such a bad idea.

Have Faith +2 to 3 years

It has been found in studies that people who are religious and practice their religion on a regular basis will have a longer life span. The stress levels go down and their quality of life goes up. In fact, attending religious gatherings once a week has been proven to increase life span by two to three years. This is almost the same amount of years gained with exercise (which is three to five years). Practicing a religion is an easy way to increase your life span.

Get Connected +7.5 to 10 years

Having connections with friends is a huge way to avoid depression, which can lead to premature death. This is very common in elderly widows. An easy way to connect with your friends or distant family is to make a profile on social networking sites such as Myspace or Facebook.

SK THE DOC

Dr. Henry Goitz Undergrad: Cornell University Medical Degree: Rutgers University Residency: University of Virginia

What is the most common thing that causes premature death? Heart disease and different types of cancer such as lung cancer for smokers, and breast cancer for women. Are there specific foods that one can eat to increase life span? Anything rich in antioxidants because antioxidants fight disease. For example, cantaloupe, blueberries, broccoli, and cauliflower are some of the best foods to eat to maintain good health. There is research indicating that religion increases one’s life span. Is there any truth to this? Yes, because it can improve your quality of life and you have something to lean on, therefore you can find more peace in your life. What are main factors that will keep a person alive longer? The main factors influencing life are genetics, exercise and diet. Keeping your heart healthy, and exercising to keep your heart rate at healthful levels is important in living a healthy life. What are some concerns that you have about the life span of people now? The main concern is that chemicals in plastic are released when they are heated or frozen so for some advice, don’t heat or freeze plastic, instead, use glass or ceramic. When microwaving don’t use plastic, use glass. Interview by Emma Takach


October X-Ray 2009