life span


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Genetics have a huge impact on longevity, but they are not the only factors that influence how long you will live. Your socioeconomic status, the environment you live in, the food you eat, and how active you are can all contribute to your overall life expectancy.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Complete the Life Expectancy Calculator and compare your score to the national average for your age range. Consider how your score made you feel and what it made you think about .


By Day 4, post a comprehensive response to the following:


  • Were you surprised by your score?
  • What are your attitudes about getting older?
  • Did the test make you think differently about what impacts aging?
  • What are three lifestyle factors that impact the aging process? Be specific and use supporting information from the text and your resources.

Learning Resources

Required Resources


  • Interactive Tool: Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Life expectancy calculator. Baltimore: Author.
    Alternative format: Life expectancy calculator (PDF)

    This interactive application uses a simple logarithm to estimate your possible longevity. It will calculate your body mass index, consider some of the variables that impact longevity, and compare your results to the current national averages. You will discuss your experience using the Life Expectancy Calculator in this week’s Discussion.

    Using this calculator is meant to spark discussion. You are the only person that will see your score. Your information will not be saved, archived, or shared with anyone.

    [Note: This calculator is for educational purposes only. It is, in no way, meant to provide medical advice of any kind. For detailed information about your personal health and longevity, please consult a qualified health care professional.]

  • Audio: National Public Radio. (Producer). (2001, August 27). Aging and genetics [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from

    This podcast, by National Public Radio’s correspondent Joanne Silberner, reports on a study of long-lived families that is changing the long-held assumption that many genes are involved in longevity. The scientists who conducted the study appear to be closing in on a small number of genes that determine whether a person is likely to live a long life.

  • Audio: National Public Radio. (Producer). (2008, June 8). Can ‘blue zones’ help turn back the biological clock? [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from

    Author Dan Buettner spent 5 years visiting places around the world where people tend to live longer, healthier lives. He calls these areas “Blue Zones.” In this podcast, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday spoke with Buettner about his new book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.


  • Course Text: Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2013). Human Development: A life-span view  (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
    • Chapter 1, “The Study of Human Development”
      • Section 1.1, “Thinking About Development”
      • Section 1.2, “Developmental Theories”
    • Chapter 2, “Biological Foundations: Heredity, Prenatal Development, and Birth”
    • Chapter 14, “The Personal Context of Later Life: Physical, Cognitive, and Mental Health Issues”
      • Section 14.1, “What Are Older Adults Like?”

      In examining the specific elements of aging—including physiological, cognitive, and socioemotional development—it is valuable to first start with some perspective on the concept of human development as a whole. This week’s reading in your textbook begins with an introduction to human development, including key developmental theories. You’ll then explore the biological underpinnings of human development by looking at what goes into our genetic makeup and the factors that control the start we get in life. You will conclude your introduction to human aging with an overview of the major elements that factor into old age.


  • (2007, August 14). Effects of aging on your body. Retrieved from

    The aging process is different for humans at each stage of life. This website looks at the milestones of aging for each major developmental stage, from infancy through senior adulthood.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Aging: What to expect as you get older. Retrieved from
  • This website, maintained by the Mayo Clinic, offers insight into what the future might hold for you as it presents the effects of normal aging on the body.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004–2007). The state of aging and health in America report. Retrieved from
  • This interactive map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presents data from The State of Aging and Health in America Report. The interface enables you to access and compare data on how healthy Americans are by region, state, and select metropolitan areas.

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2013). Aging. Retrieved from
  • This website presents the results of the Aging Initiative: Protecting the Health of Older Americans, the Environmental Protection Agency’s development of a comprehensive national agenda for the environment and aging.

Optional Resources




With these Learning Resources in mind, please proceed to Check Your Knowledge.


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