Life span

Factors That Influence Life Expectancy

Factors responsible for life expectancy across the globe include:

1. Gender: According to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries of United States, mortality rates for females are lower at each age than those of men. Women live longer than men, on the average.

2. Genetics: According to the Centre for Disease Control of US, there appears to be a link between genetic factors and mortality rates. Examples are genetic diseases like cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke or cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, intentional self-harm or suicide as the case may be.

3. Prenatal and childhood conditions: Poor conditions in utero (in the womb), at birth and in very early childhood, are associated with higher mortality even at advanced ages.

4. Marital status: Marriage or committed relationships may improve cardiac health, help combat isolation and loneliness that can negatively impact mental health.

5. Socio-economic status: As socio-economic status decreases, so does life expectancy. This is because the socio-economic status can affect a person’s ability to access adequate medical care, even where it is available. 

6. Education: According to Hall and Peterson, higher education levels are linked to higher socio-economic status and both are linked to improved longevity.

7. Lifestyle: Historically, lifestyle factors that affect mortality include an unhealthy diet, inadequate exercise, tobacco use, excessive use of alcohol, risky behaviours, food safety, work place safety and motor vehicle safety.

8. Medical technology: Advances in medicine and medical technology have had a major impact on increased longevity. Development of antibiotics and immunizations, as well as improvements in imaging, surgery, cardiac care and organ transplants have all helped to push the average life expectancy higher.

Traditionally, life duration can be divided into three stages: morning, afternoon and night. The morning stage of life, with age bracket zero to twenty-one (0 to 21), is the period you prepare yourself for what you want to be in life. This is your time of learning under the tutelage of your parents, teachers or guardians. It is mostly a foundation-laying stage for what is to come in the afternoon and night of your life. At this time, you are still a dependent and the orientation of the one you depend upon could extensively shape your values and aspirations in life.

The afternoon stage is a period where you begin to put what you have learnt into practice. This revolves within the age bracket of twenty-two to fifty-five (22 to 55). At this stage you can take decisions of your own and be held responsible for your action and inaction. Irrespective of the type of training you had been given by your parents or teachers as a dependent, you have the capacity to either sustain and build on it or alter it completely. The afternoon stage is your resourceful period to explore your divine capacity. This era, will to a large extent, prepare the kind of night stage you will experience.

The night time is a period of reward. This revolves within the age bracket of fifty-six to eighty (56 to 80). At this stage, you consolidate on your achievements in your morning and afternoon stages in life. Also at this stage, you are full of wisdom through numerous challenges you have encountered. It is indeed the period of harvest of whatever you have sowed.

What is paramount at this stage is the kind of legacy you will leave behind. How impactful has your life been to others? Most of the inventors of this world are warmly remembered and read about because their legacies enhanced the lives of their generation and that of generations after them. Hence, rather than focus on how long you will live, focus and deliberately live a life that positively impacts on others. Do things that’ll cause generations unborn to remember you for good.

In the next chapter, I’ll share with you a bit of my story and the unpalatable side of life.

Pastor Bosun Obafemi is an author and a journalist with a print media organization. He also Pastors a zone in the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

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