...but the radical lengthening of global life expectancies over the past two hundred years has powerfully shaped the modern world. In the early twentieth century, life expectancy in the United States shot up with dizzying speed, affecting virtually all aspects of American life and culture. Those changes included new attitudes to aging and death, the invention of modern retirement, a booming youth culture, the exploding popularity of exercise, diet, and preventive medicine, and ultimately a widespread conviction that health and willpower were deeply connected. I explore these changes and more in "Why Do People Die? Life Expectancy and Personal Responsibility" (Journal of Social History, Summer 2012) and "So Few Fat Ones Grow Old: Diet, Health and Virtue in the Age of Rising Life Expectancy" (Endeavour, Fall 2011), as well as in my work on weight loss culture in Modern Food, Moral Food.