Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have conducted a study which suggests that an individual's lifestyle has more of an impact on their life expectancy than how long their parents lived.
In a large-scale trial of men in Sweden, a team of scientists found that factors such as non-smoking status, moderate consumption of coffee, average to high income level and ability to do physical work in middle age were more likely to indicate a long lifespan than heredity.
"The study clearly shows that we can influence several of the factors that decide how old we get," says Lars Wilhelmsen, research co-author. "This is positive not only for the individual, but also for society as it doesn't entail any major drug costs."
Authors of the study — which was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine — said its results contradict beliefs that mortality is inherited and instead point to personal choices as a determining factor in how long an individual will live.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the average life expectancy in the United States is nearly 78 years old.