Environmental stressors can affect the quality and length of not only the affected individual's life, but his descendants as well. Environmental changes in stress levels, annual temperatures, pain and food supply critically affect the lifestyle, reproductive success and lifespan of adult animals and their children for generations.
New research suggests that environmental stressors and traumatic memories may be passed down for at least two generations, increasing the risk for chronic disease. The World Health Organization has reported that death from chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes, has surpassed all other causes of death. Approximately 40% of the deaths from chronic disease were premature, with most attributable to environmental stressors, including physical inactivity, obesity, alcohol and tobacco use and excessive salt intake.