Childhood Illness Not Linked to Higher Adult Mortality

According to a study out of the University Stirling in Finland, exposure to infections in early life does not have long-lasting consequences for later-life survival and reproduction. The lifespan of people in the UK was age 60, but now the expectation is for these individuals to live to at least 80 – if not longer. Why has the expected lifespan increased so much in only 150 years?

The previous theory was that childhood diseases such as smallpox, measles and whooping cough caused long-lasting inflammation and that once these diseases were eradicated, the inflammation ceased to be an issue. This has been debunked since, if that was the case, we would expect infections in childhood to be linked to early death from heart disease, stroke and cancer. This study found no support that exposure to infections in early life can result in higher mortality risk during adulthood.

“Our analyses are significant because they show that early-life disease exposure was not linked to increased risk of death in later life, it was also not linked to risk of death specifically from heart disease, stroke and cancer and was not related to age at first birth, number of children born, or child survival rate in either men or women,” said one researcher. He continued saying, “Overall, we found support for the idea that exposure to infections in early life can have long-lasting consequences for later-life survival and reproduction. Instead, it appears more likely that improved conditions during adulthood, such as healthcare and diet, are responsible for recent increases in adult lifespan.”

So instead of worrying about childhood illnesses, just focus on getting quality healthcare and keeping your diet healthy and you could live longer.

raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review ( and NaturalPath (, has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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