Why do some unhealthy people live so long?

Eat less; move more; live longer. I don’t know how many times I have written those words or  you have read them. But, they are one of the cornerstones of this blog. You can get lots more detail throughout these pages, but check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for a good concise serving.

However, while reading Time Magazine’s Longevity Issue (Feb 22, 2016) I ran across an interesting item, namely, why do some unhealthy people live so long?

The author states, ” I don’t know how many unfiltered Chesterfields my grandfather smoked, but if you figure two packs a day for 75 years, it comes out to 1,095,000. He died on a Monday, at age 91, and he had been at work the previous Friday….”

cigarette smoker.jpg
The Time writer cites a study of nearly 500 long-lived Jews with a mean age of 97.3 More than half of the sample group were overweight or obese; 60% of the men and 30% of the women were long term smokers at one point or another and only half said they did even moderate exercise.

It seems everyone knows someone like that who seemingly broke all the rules of good health and came out a winner.

Further research indicates that there are at least two gene sequences that help to depress bad cholesterol and raise the good stuff. So, someone lucky enough to be born with these can have very healthy results from less than healthy eating. Needless to say, there are drug companies at work right now trying to duplicate these results. You can’t beat great genes.


I am a big fan of Damon Runyon, legendary sports writer and the creator of the immortal  Guys and Dolls. He said, “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong — but, that’s how you bet it.”

As far as the eat less; move more; live longer mantra goes, that’s how I’m playing it. It’s working great for me at age 81. Why change a winning game?



Filed under healthy living, unhealthy people

7 responses to “Why do some unhealthy people live so long?

  1. I’m completelywith you on this Tony. My grandmother lived till she was 86 and smoked like a chimney. She did die ugly though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Samantha

    It does make you wonder, indeed. But I’d rather die young and healthy than live a life full of smoke and alcohol (although I am not giving up on chocolate!) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • The good news is that if you maintain your good health you are more likely to live a long life. You put the odds are in your favor.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Samantha

        And why would anyone want to increase the probability of getting seriously ill? I was already quite annoyed by a simple flu, I can’t imagine being happy with anything worse. So why risk it for a few minutes of wasted pleasure?
        Although, I still refuse to give up chocolate, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, since 60% of us are overweight and half of those outright obese, most people prefer it. Go figure. You are basically sensible which puts you ahead of the majority. Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Samantha

        Thanks, you too, Tony!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s