Mortality and Consumer Choice

I've recently been reading the Runner's Handbook.  It's a good source of background information and I'm learning a lot from it.  One thing I've learned is that through running I reduce my risk of dying from heart disease.  I'm pleased about this – I doubt heart attacks are much fun.  What the book doesn't seem to focus on is the implication of reducing my risk of heart disease.

Thing is, I'm almost certainly still going to die; which means I'm now more likely to die of something other than heart disease.  I had a look on wikipedia and found their List of Causes of Death by Rate.  To summarise:

  • 29.34% die of cardiovascular diseases
  • 19.12% die of infectious and parasitic diseases
  • 12.49% die of cancer
  • 6.49% die of pulmonary diseases
  • 6.23% die of "unintentional injuries"
  • The remainder are mopped up by digestive diseases, intentional injuries, and so on.

So, to alter the advice in the runner's handbook, I've not decreased my chance of dying of heart disease so much as significantly improved my chances of dying from disease or cancer.  Thanks, healthy lifestyle!

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