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Microlives: how much life have you lost or gained today?

21 Dec, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, has devised a novel way of weighing the benefits of one health resolution against another, using the concept of ‘microlives’. Instead of measuring habits such as red meat consumption in years lost from the average life, he calculates the effects of daily choices in small units of time, called microlives.

Spiegelhalter divided up the years remaining for a 35-year-old with a typical life span of 80 years into nearly a million 30-minute periods and defined each half-hour as one microlife. He then calculated how various habits may affect the microlives a person has left.

It isn’t hard to lose a microlife. Averaged over a lifetime, habits such as smoking two cigarettes, eating a burger, keeping 11 pounds overweight, watching two hours of television or drinking a second or third alcoholic beverage each result in the loss of one microlife.

So how much time have you lost our gained today? We have created an online calculator to help you work it out:

http://bmj.com/microlives

 

Microlives calculator
Read the original article: Using speed of ageing and “microlives” to communicate the effects of lifetime habits and environment

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  • http://www.omnificdesign.com.au/ Wes Towers

    Hi, Claire. I just discovered your blog today and started reading your
    articles. Although I paid attention to the one about the Facebook Graph Search, this article was the one that prompted me to leave a comment. I find it very interesting because I want to see if I am doing the right things for my longevity. I actually used the online calculator and am happy to report that I am not a wastrel of my microlives. Thanks!

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