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Smoking and Cholesterol Shorten Life Span of Men by a Decade

Posted on 18 Sep 2009

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Men who smoke and let fat clog their arteries die a decade earlier than those who don't.

Scientists looking for a connection between life expectancy and cardiovascular risk factors combed through the Whitehall study, a survey of 19,019 male civil servants that started in London in the late 1960s.

They found that those who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoked in middle age died about 10 years earlier than the others after reaching age 50. The findings are published in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal. The reduction in life expectancy was even greater when the researchers factored in body mass index and diabetes.

“Our results provide support for the public health policies aimed at achieving modest changes in major risk factors throughout the population to achieve improvements in life expectancy,” wrote the authors, led by Robert Clarke of the University of Oxford.

In the study, the researchers found smoking shortened life by about six years and married men tended to live about two years longer.