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18-12-2012, 18:37
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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 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2249571/How-extra-mince-pie-tot-brandy-years-life.html) 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 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/9751444/Britons-living-longer-than-previously-thought.html), 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.

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