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n Don't smoke (or, if you do, give up). Half of all smokers are killed by the habit.

n If you can afford it, take out insurance for residential care in old age. It is unlikely that the state will be providing it for long.

n Watch your weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for both heart disease and mature-onset diabetes, and the population is steadily getting fatter.

n If you are a man, find yourself a wife or a partner. Men in stable marriages or relationships are healthier and live longer. The same does not apply to women.

n Bearing in mind that, where the USA leads, the UK almost invariably follows, avoid drug and alcohol abuse. In the USA, some 15 per cent of the health budget now goes on drug- and alcohol-related illness and injury.