[FoRK] "Lifetime healthcare costs highest for thin"

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Tue Feb 5 13:24:28 PST 2008

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Feb 5, 2008, at 11:11 AM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> I'm surprised by this:
>>> On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived about 77 
>>> years, and obese people lived about 80 years.
>> It seems like there is more disparity.  I wonder if non-illness 
>> deaths have been removed?
> That would appear to be the case.  Relative life expectancies shift a 
> lot once you remove accidental death and similar factors.  Non-illness 
> death rates varies widely even within the industrialized world, the US 
> being a more extreme example of a heavy downward bias on life 
> expectancy due to non-illness factors (e.g. road accidents).
> J. Andrew Rogers
I'm not sure how you mean that.
I was conjecturing that the numbers should show that healthy people live 
a lot longer and if they don't that it might be because accidental 
deaths were lowering the healthy numbers.

Another possibility is that, in addition to cancer, that other factors 
are operating on average.  Osteoporosis for example, especially in a 
mostly sedentary population, will cause spinal meltdown between 60-80.

I keep thinking that the interesting numbers are usually not collected: 
those pertaining to quality of life and healthiness (what you might call 
"strength of life").  What are the distributions over age vs. 
smoking/etc. for the ability to, with pleasure and without high 
probability of death:

Run a mile.
Run at at least a 6 min./mile pace for 100 yards.
Walk up a 5% incline for 1/2 mile.
Walk 5 miles.
Swim 100 yards.
Survive an 8 ft. fall with nothing beyond ankle issues.
Ride a roller coaster.
Do math of some difficulty (at least algebra, multiplication, and a 
little geometry).
Write a story.
Learn and remember facts at a certain rate and volume.  (Memory game, etc.)
Learn a new skill.
Do something of some required experience and knowledge.
Have sex.
See close to 20/20.

I suspect that you might find that vast amounts of the population fall 
off rather quickly, and much more so with smoking, obesity, etc.  You 
could come up with categories that amount to: 20s-equivalent, very 
healthy, moderate, impaired, dysfunctional, hanging on.

As a teenager, I used to frequently run 7 miles a day with a 75 year old 
guy.  At nearly 43 I can run a marathon without much effort (not fast 
mind you, I'm working on it) and could walk over 50 miles in a day if I 
wanted to.  (I did 43, somewhat accidentally, in Montreal several years 
ago while site seeing.)  Abusing and not exercising your body seems to 
allow an undampened exponential breakdown.  This just isn't apparent at 
all in your 20's and 30's and can be argued away in your 40's and by 
your 60's it's pretty much too late.  Rotting from the inside out as it 


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