Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lifestyle affects life expectancy more than genetics, Swedish study finds

Date:
February 8, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
How long your parents lived does not necessarily affect how long you will live. Instead it is how you live your life that determines how old you will get, reveals research from Sweden.

How long your parents lived does not necessarily affect how long you will live. Instead it is how you live your life that determines how old you will get, reveals research from the University of Gothenburg recently published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

It is often assumed that people with parents who lived to be very old are more likely to live to a grand old age themselves.

"But that's just not true -- our study shows that hereditary factors don't play a major role and that lifestyle has the biggest impact," says professor emeritus Lars Wilhelmsen, referring to the 1913 Men study that formed the basis of the current research.

Those who did not smoke, consumed moderate amounts of coffee and had a good socio-economic status at the age of 50 (measured in terms of housing costs), as well as good physical working capacity at the age of 54 and low cholesterol at 50 had the greatest chance of celebrating their 90th birthday.

"We're breaking new ground here," says Wilhelmsen. "Many of these factors have previously been identified as playing a role in cardiovascular disease, but here we are showing for the first time that they are important for survival in general."

He believes that it is significant that the research illustrates so clearly that we do not "inherit" mortality to any great extent, but instead that it is the sum of our own habits that has the biggest impact.

"The study clearly shows that we can influence several of the factors that decide how old we get," says Wilhelmsen. "This is positive not only for the individual, but also for society as it doesn't entail any major drug costs."

The study has been published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

The 1913 Men epidemiological study started up in 1963. A third of all male 50-year-olds in Gothenburg were called for a check-up that focused on cardiovascular health. Every ten years since, a new group of 50-year-olds has been called in and those who were already taking part in the study have been given another check-up. This has enabled researchers to follow the development of illnesses in a specific age group, and to compare the health of 50-year-olds in 2003 with that of 50-year-olds in 1963, for example. Women have also been included in the study since 2003. Several variables have been studied over the years, including BMI, smoking habits, cholesterol, exercise habits and blood pressure.

The men born in 1913 were examined when they were 50, 54, 60, 67, 75 and 80. Of the 855 men who took part in the study from the start, 111 (13%) were still alive at the age of 90.

Over the years the material has generated many research articles and doctoral theses. An interesting result came in 2008 when researchers were able to show that the drop in the number of smokers, combined with lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, between 1963 and 2003 could offer an explanation for the marked downturn in the number of heart attacks during this 40-year period.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Wilhelmsen, K. Svärdsudd, H. Eriksson, A. Rosengren, P.-O. Hansson, C. Welin, A. Odén, L. Welin. Factors associated with reaching 90 years of age: a study of men born in 1913 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Journal of Internal Medicine, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02331.x

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Lifestyle affects life expectancy more than genetics, Swedish study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207112539.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, February 8). Lifestyle affects life expectancy more than genetics, Swedish study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207112539.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Lifestyle affects life expectancy more than genetics, Swedish study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207112539.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins