The new age: So big and healthy grandpa wouldn’t even know you

Source: The New York Times Health Section, July 2006

International research is increasingly showing that people today are living longer and healthier lives than people nearly a century ago. The human body and mind have undergone a unique evolution and the reasons why remain unclear to researchers and scientists. Humans today are more intelligent than their ancestors, and they are struck by chronic ailments (i.e., heart disease and arthritis) 10-25 years later in life.

It is hypothesized that the turn for the healthier is due to improvements in medical care, especially during the first two years of life. Health events that take place before the age of 2 can have a permanent, lasting effect on one’s health—thus, the healthier one is the first 24 months alive, the healthier one will be the remainder of his/her life. Improvements in childhood vaccines, food availability, antibiotic treatments, and working conditions, as well as larger body sizes (height and weight), likely contribute to improvements in health and today’s longer life span.