5 Factors Increase Odds of Living Past 90
Want to live longer than the average American life expectancy of 79? You can.A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that by controlling factors such as obesity, smoking, and inactivity, you can increase your odds of living to at least 90 by fourteen-fold!
Previous research on twins suggests only 25% of your potential longevity comes from your genes — 75% is due to lifestyle choices.This latest analysis from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital demonstrated that by addressing five identifiable risk factors, you can move your odds of seeing your 10th decade from 4% to 54%.
Researchers tracked 2,357 male doctors (average age 72 at study commencement), monitoring five factors — inactivity, blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and diabetes — until subjects either died or reached 90.Out of the original study group, 970 (or 41%) lived to 90 or beyond.Those with all the risk factors (i.e., overweight, inactive, smoker, diabetic, and high blood pressure) had only a 4% chance of surviving the study period.Those with none of the risk factors had a 54% chance of making it.
Not surprisingly, smoking was the single worst risk factor, alone reducing your survival rate to 1 in 5.Smoking not only poisons your lungs, heart, throat, bones, and reproductive organs, it damages your skin even in areas unexposed to the sun.Obesity itself reduces your survival rate to 1 in 4 — which might be optimistic, given that previous British research found that obesity accelerates cellular aging even more than smoking.Having high blood pressure reduces your survival rate to 1 in 3, but as Dr.Michael Roizen explains in our Blood Pressure video, diet and exercise can curb hypertension.
Speaking of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle gives you only a 1 in 2 chance of making it to 90.On the flip side: Research proves that exercise can keep you genetically 10 years younger! While simply walking for an hour a few days a week can rejuvenate your aerobic capacity, exercising to the maximum of your age-specific ability is linked to greater gains in longevity.
Keep in mind that it’s never too late to start lifting weights in order to ward off dementia and bone and muscle loss.For more, download our Longevity Brochure.
Bonus: Eating more vegetables will not only help you avoid age-accelerating obesity, research shows that seniors who eat more than 2 cups of vegetables a day enjoy a 38% decrease in the rate of cognitive decline.