It's the season for eating, drinking and being merry, but experts warn that every time you over-indulge you could be cutting hours off your life.

A new report, published in the British Medical Journal, claims activities like having a couple of drinks, smoking, eating red meat and sitting in front of the TV can cut at least 30 minutes off a person's life for every day that do it.

On the flip side, sticking to one alcoholic beverage, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and working up a sweat can add a couple of hours on to your life, Medical Daily reports.

Professor David Spiegelhalter, a statistician from the University of Cambridge, figured out the impact of different activities on a person's lifespan by using a concept of accelerated or decelerated ageing.


He expressed the effect of habits as "microlives" - or half hours of life expectancy.

He calculated a person can lose 30 minutes of their life by smoking two cigarettes, being 5kg overweight, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day, watching a couple of hours of TV or eating a burger.

Prof Spiegelhalter hopes expressing activities in microlives like this will help people make better lifestyle decisions.

"Each day of smoking 20 cigarettes is as if you are rushing towards your death," he said.

"Of course, evaluation studies would be needed to quantify any effect on behaviour, but one does not need a study to conclude that people do not generally like the idea of getting older faster."