Life Expectancies By Nationality: Can Your Genes Help You Live Longer?

May 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Lifestyle affects life expectancies more than genetics, but genetics and nationality do play a role in longevity. Certain nationalities have longer life spans than others, but the reasons differ culturally. Stress levels, location, diet, exercise, income levels and health care access all play a role in the life expectancy, and all vary from culture to culture. Risk factors are often cultural as well (like how obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are all linked to American food issues). The percentage that genetics affects life span is unclear, but certainly, genetics play a role in overall health and life expectancy.

Japanese Life Expectancies versus American Life Expectancies

The Japanese, by far, have the longest life expectancies, but studies have not proven which factor is greater than another. Genetics do play a role with Japanese life expectancies. Studies have shown that a African American man in an urban area will live 21 years less than an Asian woman in the same area. African American men are more prone to heart disease and other ailments which shorten the average life span. Clearly, based on this data, either dietary habits or genetics are at play. More studies must be conducted to prove these findings conclusively.

Hispanic and Canadian Life Expectancies versus American Life Expectancies

Though neither Hispanics nor Canadians made the top five longest life expectancies, these nationalities are worth a look since they are America’s neighbors. Hispanics live longer than Caucasians and African Americans despite the fact they have lower levels of income and education. Experts attribute the Hispanic longevity to their genetics and commitment to family.

Canadians are happy people and share similar lifestyle attributes to Hispanics. Canadians smoke less, walk more and consume less red meat. They are more likely to be found eating vegetables and fruits. Surprisingly, Canadians also found that beer lowers stress levels and contains folic acid.

Other Life Expectancies versus American Life Expectancies

The Swiss also have longer life expectancies than Americans and are second only to Japan. The Swiss are required to have private health care and have average salaries of $70,000, but still come in second to Japan. Why? Lifestyle and genetics could be the answer. Japanese average salaries are almost $30,000 lower than the Swiss and they’re not required to have healthcare nor is it paid for by the government. Yet, the Japanese still live longer than the Swiss and have more people living over the age of 100 than any other country. The Japanese diet is one of the healthiest. The diet most consists of lean protein, vegetables and rice. Green teas and Japanese spices have been proven to have benefits in health and longevity. In general, Japanese people tend to be healthier than any other nation.

Other nationalities that made the top five include Italians, Swedes and Australians. Mediterranean people have better diets and the genes for longevity for the most part. They are less prone to heart disease which is often the number one killer in the United States. Mediterranean diets have helped many people overcome obesity.

Australians live longer because of lifestyle, location and genetics. The island of Australia is beautiful. People are more attuned to fitness through running, hiking, surfing and snorkeling. Australians are healthier and have universal health coverage to maintain healthier lifestyles.

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