Some people inherit genes from their parents, which contribute towards longevity by protecting them from heart disease, cancer, dementia and other effects of ageing. However, genes only account for about a quarter of these effects.
Thus our lifespan is not programmed from birth. We can influence it by how we choose to live our lives – giving us a level of power and responsibility.
Research suggests that three other factors influence how long we live: what we eat; how physically and mentally active we are; and how strong our social networks are.