A new study in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society sheds some light on the health habits of our longest-lived Americans. You may be surprised to hear the results.
The cohort was interviewed on their health habits when they were around age 70 and compared with a group from similar birth years who had passed on, but who had answered similar questions in a nutrition study performed over three decades ago (clever, huh?). All were of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
The results? There was no significant difference in the amount of “healthy” behaviors in the centenarians compared with the other “late” group; no change in diet, alcohol consumption, and perhaps even a bit less exercise.
What to conclude?? My view is that no matter what your genetic risk factors, you can always improve your quality, and possibly quantity of life with good attention to nutrition, exercise, and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol. There’s plenty of proof of reduced morbidity too, with a lower risk of heart attack, stroke and possibly dementia.
But for a very long life, we may still have to look to the old adage I learned in medical school: “Choose your parents wisely!”