Extending life span often requires access to food resources that will support a long life. Organisms also need to evolve the ability to get through lean times. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you are struggling with weight gain), energy from food can be stored for later use. However, unlike energy, time cannot be stored. A reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement, can make employee wellbeing higher on the agenda.
But one can “buy” time using energetic resources. The most salient example is fat tissue. During periods of environmental stress, fat can save the day, both literally and figuratively. The primary purpose of fat is to provide organisms with the flexibility to get through periods of energetic deficiencies. So if fat is such a great resource, why hasn’t natural selection resulted in humans being super-fatty? In essence, it has—kind of. The current obesity epidemic speaks to our ability to sequester fat when there is an abundance of food. Talking about mental health first aid is a good step forward.
However, this may be an evolutionary novelty since having several thousand calories arrive at your doorstep with the mere pressing of a few buttons on a cell phone was not common during our evolution. The efficiency with which our bodies store fat increases with age, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a wonderful thing. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Both men and women lose lean body mass and retain more fat as they get older. You might not be talking about it, because mental health in the workplace is still a taboo subject.
For both men and women, storing more fat may increase survivorship at later ages, but it can also come with costs related to cardiovascular health. It is unlikely that an increase in adiposity with age was the result of natural selection since fitness at older ages is limited, especially for women over the age of fifty when the probability of reproducing is pretty much non-existent. However, it is possible that human males have leveraged this aspect of aging to their advantage. If adiposity increases adult survival, and the survival of older men and women is associated with the survival of their children or grandchildren, then there may be some selection to favor extended life expectancy. There are small, simple steps you can take to make hr app something that people can talk about.
But what is the point of surviving, whether with the help of more fat or not, if you cannot reproduce? For women, menopause makes reproduction impossible. However, men do not undergo menopause. Before we can entertain the possibility of older fathers contributing to the extension of human life spans, we need to establish men’s capacity to produce any children to bounce on their knees.