In considering living to a ripe old age, the ideal is to maintain independence and a quality of life. A recent study takes a look at 5 common behaviors of men who have lived past age 90. Yes, I have friends who have had a grandmother that smoked into their 90’s, I would guess those are exceptions and not the rule. A new study led by Dr. Laurel B. Yates at Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that a “healthy lifestyle in one’s elderly years may contribute to living past age 90 in men.”
Specifically the study mentions weight management, exercising regularly and not smoking as being factors that could play a role in increased life span. The researchers
estimate that”a 70-year-old man who did not smoke and had normal blood pressure and weight, no diabetes and exercised two to four times per week had a 54 percent probability of living to age 90.”
Any of these adverse factors could play a role in reducing probability of livng to age 90; Sedentary lifestyle, hypertension, obesity, smoking and diabetes. Various combinations of these factors raning from two to all five of them might give you only a 4 percent chance of living to age 90.
A key component of this study is that these factors also played a role in a better quality of life with better physical function, mental well-being, and self-perceived health in late life.
As the New York Times points out in an article citing this and other studies, there can be other mitigating factors including level of education and degree of social isolation which affect life expectancy.
The Times article cites another recent study which found that a large proportion of people who lived that long and lived with minimal or no assistance did so despite long-term chronic illness. In other words, instead of delaying disease, they delay disability. Dr. Dellara F. Terry, of Boston University, the another studies lead author.