Dr. Baljit Singh
In 1896, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1843-1923) observed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by only 20% of the population (vital few). This rule is also recognised in the business and health sectors. The 80/20 rule describes a situation where a small amount of input (20%) results in a large amount of output (80%). For example, when building a temple, rich people donate the most money, and others will take care of the rest.†
This also might apply to where any person’s genetics might be a contributory factor in his/her life span and 80 percent by living conditions – housing, healthcare, nutrition stress levels, etc.†
But what is certain is that with better health care, we can live longer. For example, dialysis can extend a person’s life. Social distancing measures have saved millions of lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, people live longer when road conditions are better and people obey traffic rules.†
Furthermore, perhaps our behaviour results from our genetic makeup, meaning that under given social conditions, similar patterns of behaviour can be explained entirely by genetics. A person may not drink or gamble, which may be due to family genetics, which may also explain why he experiences fewer life-shortening risk factors.
But given the similar social and medical conditions that determine how long we live; the extreme longevity of more than 100 years may have more to do with genetic factors. Social tensions do increase our stress levels, but some people let them go or get through them by managing them better.
In the socially and political disturbed areas, war like conditions such as genocide and riots, explain how the life span of a person in the community gets reduced to mortality and morbidity even in the young age when the person has no illness.†
The number of healthy life years spent as life span increases is also a matter of healthy life years. Rich people may live longer because they can afford medical care, but they may also suffer from diseases of affluence such as unhealthy diet, alcoholism and lack of exercise.
We may live longer due to better medical facilities and social and economic conditions, but are our genes likely to determine how long we live? To get a better viewpoint on 20 percent and 80 percent contributory factor, instead of life expectancy, we might consider looking at the individual life span which might suggest that 80 percent is genetics that determines how long we live and 20 percent living conditions.†
Can people in developed countries live to be over 100 years old? Social and economic life in developed countries may be more peaceful and less stressful due to poverty, crime, family tensions, etc. Hence, we look into an individualís life span rather life expectancy to look into the 20 percent 80 percent allocation to contributory factors in explaining what made a person live longer.†
Most crimes are committed by a few because only a few do not follow the traffic rules which can lead to road rage (mortality and morbidity). If we get taller in a group of short people, then the average height of the group will increase. It is essential to look into the matter of an individual personís life span rather average life expectancy to explain what by what (genetics vs. living conditions). Maybe someone lives a long life without any disease despite drinking and smoking. But we don’t recommend smoking or drinking. We are trying to explain what by what.
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