Curb the festive feast and live longer?

The ‘bah humbug’ warning comes from a statistician at the University of Cambridge who calculated that, averaged over a lifetime, a ‘microlife’ (defined as 30 minutes of life expectancy) can be lost if you are five kilos overweight, drink more than one alcoholic drink a day, eat a burger, watch two or more hours of television or smoke more than two cigarettes.

But it is not all bad news with Professor David Spiegelhalter also calculating that microlives can be gained by sticking to just one alcoholic drink a day (one microlife), eating fresh fruit and vegetables (four microlives), exercising for 20 minutes (two microlives) and taking statins (one microlife).

Professor Spiegelhalter set out to find a simple way of communicating the impact of behaviours on life expectancy.

Writing in a Christmas edition of the BMJ, he suggested using the concept of ageing faster or slower by expressing the daily effect of lifestyle