Public Health

It’s In The Genes

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Genes may be more likely to increase longevity than diet, exercise, smoking and drinking.

Researchers asked 466 people over age 95 about their lifestyles, body mass index, and other habits around smoking, drinking, physical activity and food. 

The group was compared against 3,164 people who had been born around the same time and examined in the 1970s through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study group did not have healthier habits than the comparison group. 

  • Among long-living men, 24% consumed alcohol daily, versus 22% of the general population. 
  • Only 27% of the females attempted to eat a low-calorie diet, similar to the general population group.

According to researchers, this study suggests that centenarians may possess additional longevity genes that help to buffer them against the harmful effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. But those who want to live a long life should not throw caution to the wind.

Unhealthy lifestyle habits are not good choices for most of us who do not have a family history of longevity. There are still benefits to living a healthy lifestyle.

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