Quick Reference

Topic

Guideline

Effect Size / Cost Effectiveness

Cigarettes

Don’t. There is no other behavior that has as large an effect on your health as smoking.

11 minutes of life lost per cigarette. (2)

Sunscreen

Do – every day

Buying one Quality Adjusted Life Year by wearing sunscreen costs $30,000. (1)

Sunburn

If you miss the sunscreen, use lidocaine or benzocaine for the pain.

Added sugar

Keep below 10-15% of total calories. That’s about 50-75 g/day. Also, fruit juice is bad for you.

Getting over 21% of calories from added sugar doubles risk of CVD mortality. Likely no benefit to further decreases below 10%. (3)

HEPA filters

Use them in your HVAC or get portable fans with HEPA filters.

Extremely rough ballpark of ¼ – 1 year of additional life for having this in your bedroom in the typical American city. (4)

Weight

Keep your BMI in the range of 20-25 kg/m^2

Drinking (1, 2)

One alcoholic drink per day is probably slightly good for you if you live in the developed world. Don’t start drinking just because of this result. Stop drinking if you ever find yourself driving shortly after you drink or drinking much more than two drinks in a day.

Sleep (1, 2, 3, 4)

Sleeping less than 7 hours per night will shorten your lifespan and harm your cognitive function. Don’t worry about sleeping too much. When you’ve had enough sleep, you wake up. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Melatonin works pretty well.

An additional 8.5 minutes of sleep per night could raise your income 5%.

Cholesterol

Aim for:

  • Triglycerides: below 90 mg/dL

  • LDL: Lower is always better

  • HDL: The relationship between HDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease is unlikely to be causal, so just don’t worry about it.

Dietary Fiber

Aim for 30 g/day.

Guns

Don’t own one. Vote for policies that will reduce the number of guns in the area where you live.