Education and family structure are the greatest indicators for life expectancy, new research from Stanford shows. Those factors are even more important than access to healthcare or individual habits including smoking.
The study upends the long-held beliefs that race and geography are the most important factors for longevity by identifying 22 socioeconomic variables including income and job status that are the best indicators of early death.
"At the population level, it suggests that anyone can improve their life expectancy by accessing education and finding jobs," said lead author Mark Cullen. "Having more doctors won't change anything; what we need is better housing, better jobs, and a higher standard of living."
Cullen will join The Daily Circuit Wednesday to talk about how the findings can shape how we approach healthcare as a nation and how can we use them to better our individual lives.
"Most of my colleagues are obsessed with genes and behavior and don't really understand that you can't do anything about genes so don't worry about it," he said. "From a behavior point of view the environmental influences on behavior themselves are what matters."