Experts Weigh In On Children’s Fixation With Anti-Aging And Skin Care 

The children and young tweens of generation Z are becoming obsessed with their skin care routines, and anti-aging, despite being so young. Generation Alpha, which includes children as young as 10-years-old, are buying expensive skin care products that contain ingredients that could actually damage their skin in the future due to the fact that they simply don’t need anti-aging and other ingredients on their skin. 

The Guardian recently interviewed multiple experts on this concerning trend of children being obsessed with their self-image, specifically regarding their views on aging. 

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We have seen an increase in teenage girls using skincare … prematurely using anti-ageing products and increasingly valuing beauty and looking young. Access to social media will be a big influence here. TikTok, in particular, has millions of videos dedicated to this topic and we are starting to see the younger generations of influencers coming through: it’s now the children of the Kardashian family sharing skincare routines online,” said Josie O’Brien, health and beauty consumer insights director at consumer analysts Kantar.

“Kantar data tells us that teens are specifically using social media for skincare and makeup recommendations. So they have access to that information, whether it is appropriate or not.

Another factor is the in-store experience. The ability to try samples, products that stand out on the shelf, and nice smells are big deciding factors for young people when choosing skincare. Brands such as Drunk Elephant and Sol de Janeiro are viral among this demographic at the minute, and if you look at the products you can see why they would appeal to younger people,” O’Brien explained

“Certain aspects of this are positive and other elements less so. The rise in people wearing sunscreen younger is positive and that awareness will hopefully bode well in adulthood,” said Dr Ross Perry, medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics.

“Why are young people more interested in anti-aging products? A big factor is social media. Everything is pointing towards looking as good as we can. There is that pressure now in marketing, and social media massively influences how we perceive ourselves. If people see perfect skin and perfect routines they are more likely to follow them,” said Dr. Perry.

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“Feminine identity is very much positioned in terms of appearance and looking a certain way and the beauty standards culture and societies put upon us. We know girls and women, as well as gender-diverse people, are particularly affected by this. Historically, there is pressure on women to look a certain way as they are objectified in culture. There is a lot of pressure to manipulate and modify their bodies,” said Phillippa Diedrichs, professor of psychology at the University of the West of England.

“As a result, we see a high rate of self-objectification among women and increasingly young girls. They have internalized this societal pressure and see their bodies as objects to be modified. They spend a lot of time focused on their appearance. That gets distilled down to girls being silly and vain or trivial, but there is a cultural pressure to do it, and they see people who conform to these standards. They are often held up as the most rewarded in society.

Cosmetic procedures are also more accessible financially and in terms of who offers them. For example, Botox is now advertised at the dentist,” Diedrichs stated. 

“Unlike smoking or drinking, skincare is seen as an innocent way of playing with being older. It is not as obvious as makeup. I think brands encourage it, and like the fact it has become a luxury accessory and there are a lot of myths being peddled. People are told they must do certain things to keep their skin healthy and that exposure is good for brands sometimes,” explained Dr Emma Wedgeworth of the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group.

“It’s reflective of our obsession with aging as a society. We are supposed to as a society evolve and become more enlightened but we are failing in terms of how we value older people and maturity.”


Secondhand Clothing Sales To Make Up 10% Of Global Fashion Sales 

Secondhand clothing sales are currently on track to make up a tenth of all global fashion market sales, according to a report from GlobalData which was done for the resale company ThredUp. The cost of living crisis and general concerns over sustainability are two of the reasons cited for consumers being more drawn to secondhand clothing.

According to the data, reported by the Guardian, “Global sales of pre-owned clothes surged by 18% last year to $197bn (£156bn) and are forecast to reach $350bn in 2028.” 

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The secondhand market in the US grew seven times faster than general fashion retail where sales have been relatively stagnant throughout the past year, according to the data. 

Co-founder and chief executive of ThredUp, James Reinhart, stated that the resale sector of the fashion industry likely was able to grow in an otherwise tough market because it’s “more resilient” in a housing market that’s struggling along with high energy costs and food pricing. 

“When consumer sentiment is softer, value is key. People are looking to shop secondhand to drive more value.”

Reinhart went on to explain that interest in secondhand items has been mainly prominent in younger generations, however, it’s now starting to “span generations.”

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The GlobalData report showed that more than half of the shoppers analyzed had bought something second hand within the past year; 65% of those shoppers were aged between 12 and 43 (generation Z and millennials), and 38% of the consumers stated that they shop secondhand to get better deals on higher end brands. 

Digital secondhand shopping has also made it easier for consumers to shop sustainably, especially among the younger generations. ThredUp, Depop, and other online secondhand retailers have been so successful that the sector is projected to see its sales more than double within the next five years to an estimated $40 billion. 

For the older generation, shoppers within that demographic are more likely to go to physical retail stores, as there is also now an increase in availability to secondhand clothing stores. 

Reinhart also stated that it would be beneficial to the industry if there was legislation implemented to further limit the growth of fast fashion, an industry that is responsible for a lot of the CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions that come from the fashion industry in general. 

“It is hard not to believe that there will be some activity in that space in the next three to five years given how much of the apparel ends up in landfill,” he said.


New York City Celebrity Owl, Flaco, Dies A Year After Central Zoo Escape 

Flaco was the Eurasian eagle-owl who made headlines last year after escaping from New York City’s Central Park Zoo and becoming beloved by residents and individuals on social media. This past week, zoo officials announced that Flaco had unfortunately died, he was 13-years-old. 

Flaco initially escaped the Central Park after being freed from his cage in a criminal act that remains unsolved. The zoo said in a statement that Flaco likely was killed after colliding with a building in the Upper West Side. 

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“The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death. We are still hopeful that the NYPD which is investigating the vandalism will ultimately make an arrest.”

The Wild Bird Fund, a wildlife rehabilitation center, sent its staff to respond to the scene of Flaco’s accident where they declared him dead shortly after he collided with the building. Flaco was then taken to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy. 

“We hoped only to see Flaco hooting wildly from the top of our local water tower, never in the clinic,” the World Bird Fund wrote in a social media post

Flaco initially arrived at the Central Park Zoo as a fledgling in 2010. On February 2nd, 2023, someone broke in through a waist-high fence and then cut a hole through a steel mesh cage which would free Flaco. 

The zoo ended up suspending their efforts to recapture Flaco the same month he went missing, and since that point there has been no new information made public regarding his return. 

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However, since his initial escape Flaco has continued to make headlines, and has become somewhat of a mascot for New Yorkers. He was known to spend his days hanging out in Manhattan’s courtyards, parks, or the various fire escape perches, while he would spend his evenings perched on the city’s water towers waiting to hunt the rats of New York City. 

Avid bird watchers in the city would trach Flaco on his daily journeys, and some would even be surprised by him turning up outside of their windows as a place to rest. He’s become somewhat of a New York City icon, prompting an emotional response from residents everywhere. 

David Barrett is a New Yorker who’s been one of Flaco’s most dedicated watchers, and made a post online for the Manhattan Bird Alert suggesting a temporary memorial at Flaco’s favorite oak tree in Central Park where he was often spotted throughout the past year. 

Barrett wrote that this memorial would allow for fellow birdwatchers and fans of Flaco to “lay flowers, leave a note, or just be with others who loved Flaco.” 


UK Universities Become First To Feature Famous Hologram Lecturers 

Some universities in the UK are beginning to enter a new era of utilizing unique technology to teach its students. The technology in question involves holograms, the same holograms that have been used to bring back retired or dead singers to the stage; like Tupac at the 2012 Coachella music festival. 

Instead of performing hit songs, these particular holograms will be notable historical / cultural figures that align with the specific class their teaching. For example, physics students could get a lecture from Albert Einstein or a masterclass in design from Coco Chanel herself, according to reports from Rachel Hall of The Guardian.

Loughborough University in London  is the first in Europe to explore this new avenue of technology and learning. The university is specifically planning on using holograms to bring sports scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to teach fashion students about the intricacies of immersive shows. Loughborough University is also planning to have the sports scientists teach students in management how to navigate various business endeavors and situations. 

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Professor Vikkie Locke, the director of undergraduate studies at Loughborough’s business school, told the Guardian that the students love the technology, especially since they’ve grown accustomed to having classes on their computers and joining lectures through a screen. 

“[The students prefer] a guest speaker from an industry beaming into a classroom to a 2D person on a wall. [Classes on Zoom made students] feel like they were watching TV, there’s a distance. A holographic image is a lot more engaging and real to them.”

After this initial year of experimentation, the technology is set to be officially introduced into the curriculum in 2025. The holographic technology and units used are from LA-based company Proto, who also has clients like BT and IBM. Proto has also been known to work with popular clothing retailers to make interactive product displays for customers. 

David Nussbaum founded Proto four years ago, and stated that the company could soon be bringing some of the best thinkers from the 20th century back from the dead.

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“Proto has the technology to project an image of Stephen Hawking, or anybody, and make it look like he’s really there. We can hook it up to books, lectures, social media – anything he was attached to, any question, any interaction with him. An AI Stephen Hawking would look like him, sound like him and interact like it was him,” he stated.

“It’s awe-inspiring, it’s jaw-dropping, I’ve been in shock at how amazing the interactions are. AI is part of our life, whether people like it or not. You shouldn’t have to be an eccentric millionaire or a celebrity to have a hologram.”

“Different immersive technologies and AI are the new forms of literacy. Students need to understand what it means to use those, to be in those worlds, to experience them, to interact … and these are all things they’re going to need for their future careers,” said Professor Gary Burnett, who teaches  digital creativity at Loughborough University.

The university’s pro-vice-chancellor, Prof Rachel Thomson, said the “technology could help the university achieve its sustainability strategy by reducing the need to fly in guest speakers and by facilitating international research collaborations, as well as by reducing the amount of material used by students building prototypes in engineering, design and the creative arts.”


Digital Wardrobe-Tracking Is The New Sustainability Trend Of 2024

There’s a new trend in the realm of sustainability and fashion that is emerging as we navigate the new year. Social media users are now digitally tracking the clothing that they wear every day, and challenging themselves to do it for the entire year, as a means of analyzing how much they truly wear every piece of clothing they own. 

Tracking pieces of our everyday lives is nothing new. We’re used to seeing people track their daily step counts, sleeping patterns, spending habits, etc. The reasoning behind this new trend in wardrobe-tracking is to ideally slow down over-consumption in fashion, while saving money. 

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According to reports from Chloe Mac Donnell, the Guardian’s deputy fashion and lifestyle editor, some social media users are uploading their daily outfits and listing each item they’re wearing, while others are keeping a more private log of detailed spreadsheets to organize each item worn and the price of the item originally to calculate the price per wear. 

There’s also a slew of online resources and mobile applications to help people keep these sorts of logs. 

Sustainability advocates are encouraging people to track their wardrobe. Writer Aja Barber told Mac Donnell: “It inspires me to wear my whole wardrobe. It encourages me to try new ensembles and catalog the journey and it also tells me how much I’m wearing certain items.”

Mandy Lee, a fashion analyst, created a spin-off of the “75-hard” fitness challenge called the “75-day hard style challenge,” in which she challenged the 390,000+ people who watched her video to document their looks for 75-days without buying anything new. 

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This trend comes at a time where fast-fashion has taken over, which contributes massively to human’s contribution to climate change. For those who want to be more sustainable in their fashion choices, it’s encouraged to buy second hand.

There have been additional trends online to encourage this sustainability, such as “no buy January,” and “30 wears,” all meant to justify an individual’s clothing purchase and the environmental impact of that purchase. 

“You can’t buy your way into style. For many people tapping ‘add to cart’ has become a habit while scrolling. This challenge helps to break that cycle and instead focus and appreciate what you already have,” Lee stated. 

As we navigate the new year and the ways in which we can contribute to a greener Earth, looking at our shopping habits and wardrobe could be a new step in that effort.


Oslo’s Mayor Says London’s Trafalgar Square’s Christmas Tree Must Cut Its Carbon Footprint

Norway and London have a long standing holiday tradition in which Norway sends London a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square as a way of thanking Britain for its support during World War 2. 

Anne Lindboe, the newly elected mayor of Oslo, Norway’s Capital, has recently stated that she’s looking for new ways to reduce the tree and its transport’s carbon footprint. 

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Every year a tree that’s around 60 feet tall is transported from the woodlands near Oslo to Trafalgar Square by road and sea. A month after Christmas, the tree is then turned to wood chips, which Lindboe claims is hardly environmentally friendly. 

“It’s very important for us to continue the tradition. Now it’s maybe even more important to have these good relationships between cities and between people,” Lindboe said.

“But at the same time, we have to make sure that the carbon footprint is as low as possible. So that is also something we have to take into consideration: how to decrease it as much as possible.”

Since transportation is such a major factor, Lindboe suggested that they could instead give a tree that was grown in Britain, which citizens weren’t a fan of, so she explained that she’s considering how to adjust the transportation of the tree.

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Some Norwegian media outlets have also suggested that they simply end the tradition in general. City council votes on continuing the tradition every few years, and are set to do so again next year, however, Lindboe says there’s no serious talks about discontinuing the gifting of a tree to London. 

“I haven’t heard anyone in the city council saying that we should not continue. And … as the mayor of Oslo, this is really important, so I can promise that I will do everything I can to make sure that this tradition continues,” Lindboe added.

The tree itself also garners criticism every year due to its overall look, with some citizens this year claiming the tree looked “half dead,” according to the Guardian. However, Lindboe says that the criticism doesn’t really impact whether or not the tradition should end, and making fun of its appearance is even part of it.

“It’s part of the tradition isn’t it? That you should criticize the tree. We like to criticize, particularly if there’s something we’re really fond of. That’s really important to us.”

“It’s a natural-looking tree from a natural forest, not one of these cultivated Christmas trees that you sometimes see, which are more ‘perfect’, but maybe not so natural,” the mayor added.


Young Europeans More Likely To Make Major Lifestyle Changes To Save Planet, New Survey Reveals

According to a survey taken across seven countries, younger people in Europe are more willing than older generations to make major lifestyle changes that would help combat climate change to help save the planet. 

The Guardian measured the data through the YouGov polling platform, which showed the general worldwide economic downturns in recent years have also dimmed their hopes for the future; more than half of those surveyed stated they were worried they’d be unable to own a home within the next ten years. 

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Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden participated in the survey back in August. The results showed that individuals between the ages of 18-to-24-year-olds felt like current economic conditions could also push them away from starting families. 

According to the Guardian’s report, “28% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they would be willing – or were already planning – to have fewer children than they would otherwise like.”

54% of individuals in that same age group said they would get rid of their car, or already have, and instead stick to walking, cycling, or public transportation, while only 45% of people over the age of 65 said they would do the same. 41% of the younger generation said they could switch to an electric car against 21% of the older generation. 

Both ends of the age spectrum offered a willingness to make lifestyle changes in order to do their part to combat climate change. The older age groups stated they would be more willing to create smaller adjustments such as refusing to buy single-use plastics, only buying seasonal produce, and creating more green spaces in their homes. 

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Younger generations are more likely to “support radical government measures in key policy areas than older cohorts, but were less favorable than their elders towards public policy moves that could be perceived as incremental.

A ban on the production and sale of petrol and diesel cars, for example, would have the support of 46% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 42% of 25- to 24-year-olds, against 28% of 55- to 64-year-olds and just 22% of respondents over the age of 65,” wrote Jon Henley and Michael Goodier of the Guardian. 

Both age brackets agreed on the general concern of climate change and its impact on our future. More than 70% of the total population surveyed said they were very or fairly worried. 

Additionally, the survey showed that regardless of their age, most Europeans believe that the European Union should be making decisions about how the world and its many nations can combat climate change at a larger level. 

Along with this line of thinking is the belief that a more collaborative effort among the union would lead to more success in the fight against climate change, rather than just letting individual countries make their own policies.


NYC Is One Of The Best Cities In The World, According To New Report

Every year, the Resonance Consultancy ranks the best cities in the world by analyzing over 270 cities and publishing a comprehensive list for the public to learn about some of the most famous cities in the world. 

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The full report utilizes user-generated reviews, social media, online activity/popularity, and other statistics to create their rankings. 

According to Time Out Magazine and the report itself,  other “analyzed metrics include a wide range of factors that have historically shown positive correlations with attracting employment, investment and/or visitors to cities.”

The ninth annual report listed London as the best city in the world, followed by Paris and then New York. Tokyo and Singapore marked the fourth and fifth spots on the list. The US is also the only country with two cities in the top 10, with San Francisco being listed as number 7.

Written as “the greatest city in America” in an accompanying essay to the report, the study mentions “New York’s dizzying roster of new shows, hotels and parks” as part and parcel of its perennial appeal, despite the record real estate prices that have defined life in the city in recent years.”

According to Time Out Magazine, “In a nod to 2023 and 2024 in specific, the survey also mentions two key events that render New York the ideal destination at this precise moment in time: the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop music, which was founded in the Bronx on August 11, 1973, and the 100-year anniversary of the Museum of the City of New York.”

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The top 10 best cities in the world for 2024 are as follows: 

  1. London, UK
  2. Paris, France
  3. New York City, US
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Sinagpore
  6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  7. San Francisco, US
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  10. Seoul, South Korea

Shein And Forever 21 To Go Into Business Together 

Fast fashion retailers Shein and Forever 21 are going into business together in a new partnership agreement that was announced last Thursday. 

Under the agreement, Shein will acquire around one-third of the interest in Sparc Group, Forever 21’s operator. Sparc will also become a minority shareholder in Shein. 

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In a joint release statement, the companies stated that the deal is expected to expand Forever 21’s distribution on Shein’s global e-commerce platform, which has around 150 million online users. The partnership will also “offer the opportunity to test” Shein product sales and returns in physical Forever 21 stores across the US. 

Forever 21 currently has over 540 locations worldwide and online, and the specific financial details have not been disclosed in the statement. 

Sparc is a joint venture company that also includes mall operator Simon Property Group and brand development company Authentic Brands Group. Sparc also distributes apparel for brands like Eddie Bauer, Reebok, and Aéropostale. 

Shein has had a major rise in popularity in the US due to their low-cost apparel and items. 

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, according to AP, says that “the new partnership makes sense for both parties — Forever 21, which still struggles some in the fast-fashion world, could see fast growth on Shein’s sizeable online platform and that Shein will also hope that the addition of a well-known American name will help to lessen focus on its manufacturing practices, which have come under scrutiny.”

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Both Shein and Forever 21 are also no stranger to controversy over the way they run their businesses. Between the environmental impact of the way the clothes are produced and distributed and the allegations of unethical labor practices, fast fashion companies have been consistently called out. 

There’s been many ongoing conversations and concerns from lawmakers and advocacy groups over the unethical practices that occur within these facilities. 

According to the Associated Press: “In May, a bipartisan group of two dozen lawmakers asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to put the brakes on an initial public offering by Shein until it verified that it does not use forced labor from the country’s predominantly Muslim Uyghur population. A June Congressional report also unloaded a blistering critique of Shein and another Chinese fashion retailer, Temu — which sued Shein last month, accusing its rival of violating U.S. antitrust law by preventing garment makers from working with it.”

Back in June Shein said that “the company’s policy is to comply with the customs and import laws of the countries in which we operate. [We have} zero tolerance for forced labor and have implemented a robust system to ensure compliance with U.S. law.”

When speaking of the partnership, Saunders said, “while both Shein and Forever 21 are expected to benefit from the newly-announced partnership, Shein still has an advantage as it is operating from a position of strength and is already taking share away from Forever 21, and others. This is something of an admission by Forever 21 that it is not able to engineer growth in its own business in the way that it would like. There is an element of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’”


Study States 8 Lifestyle Habits Can Add Up Over Two Decades To Your Life 

According to a new unpublished study that analyzed data from US veterans, adding eight healthy lifestyle habits to your life between the ages of 40 and 60 could extend your life by up to 24 years, depending on what age you begin implementing the habits. 

Even on the older end, the study states that if you start implementing the habits at age 60, you could still potentially gain 18 years to your life. 

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“There’s a 20-year period in which you can make these changes, whether you do it gradually or all at once. We also did an analysis to see if we eliminated people with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer and the like, does it change the outcome? And it really didn’t, so, if you start off with chronic diseases, making changes does still help,” said lead study author Xuan-Mai Nguyen, a health science specialist for the Million Veteran Program at the VA Boston Healthcare System. 

The habits are relatively well-known: eat a healthy diet, exercise, maintain low stress levels, keep positive social relationships, get a full night’s sleep, don’t smoke, don’t drink in excess, and avoid hard drugs/opioids. While these habits may seem rather obvious, it’s important to understand just how much of a difference they can make in your life, and it’s encouraging to know that it’s never too late in life to make the changes. 

“The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s or 60s, it still is beneficial. This is not out of reach — this is actually something attainable for the general population,” Nguyen said

The study was presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, Nutrition 2023, and it showed how the study looked at the lifestyle behaviors of around 720,000 military veterans between the ages of 40 and 99. 

“Adding just one healthy behavior to a man’s life at age 40 provided an additional 4.5 years of life. Adding a second led to seven more years, while adopting three habits prolonged life for men by 8.6 years. As the number of additional lifestyle changes climbed, so did the benefits for men, adding up to nearly a quarter century of extra life,” Nguyen said, according to CNN

Nguyen went on to explain how women saw major changes in life span as well. “Adopting just one healthy behavior added 3.5 years to a woman’s life, while two added eight years, three 12.6 years and embracing all the healthy habits extended a woman’s life by 22.6 years.”

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“Doing all eight had a synergistic effect, sort of an added boost to extend your life, but any small change made a difference,” Nguyen said.

“An important strength of this analysis was that the population was highly diverse by race, ethnicity, and SES (socioeconomic status),” said senior study author and leading nutrition researcher Dr. Walter Willett.

The study also ranked all eight habits in order from which could give the largest increase in longevity, the following percentages were all taken from the study itself: 

  1. Exercise: “We looked at whether they did light, moderate or vigorous activity compared to not doing anything and just sitting on the couch. People who lived longer did 7.5 metabolic equivalent hours of exercise a week. Just to give you a baseline — if you can walk up a flight of stairs without losing your breath, that’s four minutes of the 7.5,” Nguyen said.
  2. Staying away from/not becoming addicted to opioids can reduce the risk of an earlier death by 38%.
  3. Never using tobacco can reduce the risk of death by 29%.
  4. Managing stress and reducing your daily stress levels can reduce early death by 22%.
  5. Eating a plant based diet could increase your chances of living a longer life by 21%.
  6. Avoiding excessive drinking and binge drinking, having more than four alcoholic drinks per day, could reduce your risk of death by 19%.
  7. Getting enough sleep every night, at least seven to nine hours a night with no insomnia, can reduce early death from other causes by 18%.

Having and maintaining positive social relationships can help life longevity by 5%. “Five percent may seem small, but that’s still a decrease in terms of all-cause mortality. Every little bit helps, whether you pick physical activity or make sure you’re surrounded by positive social support,” Nguyen said.