Longevity: Habits May Extend Life Only So Much
The eating, drinking and exercise habits of extremely old but healthy people differ little from those of the rest of us, a new study has found.
Gerontologists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine recruited 477 Ashkenazi Jews ages 95 to 112 who were living independently. The researchers took blood samples, did physical examinations and obtained detailed personal and medical histories from each participant. Then they compared them with 1,374 non-Hispanic white adults, ages 65 to 74, from the general population.
For both men and women, consumption of alcohol, amount of physical activity and the percentage of people on low-calorie or low-salt diets were almost identical in the two groups.
Long-lived men were less likely to be obese than their younger counterparts, although no less likely to be overweight. The oldest women were more likely to be overweight and less likely to be obese. More men among the oldest were nonsmokers, but smoking habits were not significantly different among the women.
Does this mean that it all depends on genes, and we might as well eat, drink and be merry? No, according to the senior author, Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“For most of us who do not have genes for longevity,” he said, “if you follow the healthy lifestyle the medical community has put forth, you are much more likely to live past 80.”
The study was published online last week in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Read Original ArticleBy Nicholas Bakalar