Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Taking years off your life

Sometimes you get a wonderful juxtaposition of stories in the papers, and today provided a good example of this. On the one hand, we had the Daily Mail in characteristic scaremongering mode saying:

Although Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry, each day of over-indulgence can reduce your life expectancy by at least half an hour.

Indeed, smoking, having a couple of drinks, eating red meat and watching television at any time of the year can each knock at least 30 minutes off your life expectancy for every day you indulge.

But by taking things in moderation each day by sticking to just one alcoholic drink, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and exercising, you could claw two hours back.

I’m sure that will go down very well over the festive season. As one commenter said “Oh dear..have just worked out how many Mince pies I have eaten and guess what ?..... I DIED 3 YEARS AGO !”

But, on the other hand, the Daily Telegraph reports that people are living longer and longer, and even exceeding previous forecasts of increasing life expectancy.

I know which report I will give more credence to. In reality, despite all the health panics and alleged timebombs, people are on average eating better diets and taking more care of themselves – it isn’t purely down to medical advances. But longevity should not be seen as an end in itself, as the medical community often seem to imply, and there is little point in living to a great old age if you never enjoy yourself along the way.


  1. Of course people are living longer, smoking and pubs are in long term decline.

  2. I remember a few years ago the fat astrologer Russell Grant being told by some self-righteous doctor on a "reality" show that according to his computer program he should already be dead. To which the obvious answer is, I'm still fucking here so you can stick your computer up your arse. I think the same applies to this Daily Mail non-story.

  3. The Daily Mail, frightening the elderly (and the gullible), since 1896!

  4. I walked to the pub and back. I'm all right Jack.

  5. But longevity should not be seen as an end in itself, as the medical community often seem to imply, and there is little point in living to a great old age if you never enjoy yourself along the way.


    All the healthists seem to talk about is extending our lives. It's all quantity. Nobody ever seems to take quality of life into account.

    No matter. I take no notice of the fearmongers anyway, never have. I prefer to enjoy my life. I've only got one stab at it, so I intend to make it count.

  6. Cooking, That is one way of looking at it.

    The life expectancy 100 years ago was about 50.

    So another way of looking at it is that the the average person has never been able to spend so much time in pubs and spend so much time smoking.

    Good news.

    Given advances in medicine, future generations should have even longer to spend smoking and drinking in pubs.

    Even more good news.

    Problem is, that as organisations such as CamRA (guardians of pub culture) have deemed that as 43% of lager drinkers are smokers and , clearly, lager drinking has no place in pubs, we have considerably less pubs than we would have otherwise.

    Still, there is always cheap supermarket lager and there a are a lot more channels on TV these days.

  7. I suspect the rise of ice cold delicious fizzy golden lager and decline of pongy Brown warm flat ale is a significant part of improvements to public health, Fred.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.