5 August 2011
Genetics rather than lifestyle are what matters most when it comes to living a particularly long life, a study suggests (J Am Geriatr Soc 2011; online 3 Aug).
US researchers surveyed 477 Ashkenazi Jews who were living independently at age 95 or older, and asked them about their lifestyles at age 70 years.
They found the group did not have healthier habits than a control (comparison) group of 3164 people representative of the US population born in the same era whose data was collected in the 1970s.
An equal number, 27 per cent, of the elderly Jewish women and of female controls said they attempted to eat a low-calorie diet.
Among the long-living men, 24 per cent consumed alcohol daily compared with 22 per cent of male controls, and only 43 per cent of long-living men regularly exercised to moderate intensity, compared with 57 per cent of controls.
Genetic factors related to exceptional longevity may also protect against the detrimental effects of poor lifestyle choices, the authors said.
Last Reviewed: 05 August 2011