Roger L. Simon

Okay, back to basics...

For a while there it seemed that the auteur of Sleeper was right all along and that there was nothing better for your longevity than a bowl of French fries except a bowl of French fries with whipped cream on top.

But no. We are back to square one: smoking and obesity are bad for you. According to a new study that looks very much like the old studies we grew up with.

Obesity and smoking accelerate aging, say researchers who saw the evidence at the cellular level.

The team measured shortening of telomeres, caps on the end of chromosomes, as an indicator of aging. Telomere length shrinks every time a cell divides, like a chromosomal clock that reflects the aging process.

“Our findings suggest that obesity and cigarette smoking accelerate human ageing,” the team wrote in the June 14 online issue of the medical journal The Lancet.