Thursday Ask Dr. Walt – Do Bad Genes Doom Me?

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Thursday Ask Dr. Walt – Do Bad Genes Doom Me?

Dear Dr. Walt, I read your column and enjoy it, and you’re always harping on us readers to improve our health. But, my family has really poor genes. Everyone in our family has died young. I guess I will also. So, why not just enjoy the ride? — Genetic Disaster in Georgia

Dear Gloomy,

I’m so glad you asked. It turns out researchers now know that a long, high-quality life is NOT solely a result of good genetics.

Sure, genes are important, but even more important are the decisions we make about our daily lifestyle habits such as sleeping, nutrition, exercise, work, leisure, meditation, prayer, reducing stress, and improving relationships.

About 20 years ago, some experts believed that as much as 70 to 80 percent of what controls our lifespan was related to our lifestyle, not our genes.

In other words, genetics only accounted for 20 to 30 percent of an individual’s chance of surviving into old age.

However, a 2018 study in the journal Genetics reported that “genes accounted for well under 7 percent of people’s life span, versus the 20 to 30 percent of most previous estimates.”

So, enjoy the ride! Just do it in a healthy manner that will increase the quality and quantity of your life!

By the way, the American Academy of Family Physicians has a very nice Lifestyle Self-Assessment Tool that you can use to see how you measure up when it comes to your daily lifestyle habits.

You can read more about this in a couple of my books:


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.


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