Global Health News
How Likely Are You To Live Up To 90?
Condensed by L.D. Ramirez (sourced from a CNN News article by Sandee LaMotte)
Living to the ripe old age of 90 may depend on your body size - both height and weight - as well as your level of physical activity.
In 1986 researchers asked over 7,000 Norwegian men and women between age 55 and 69 about their height, current weight, and weight at age 20. Both genders also told researchers about their current physical activity, which included dog walking, gardening, home improvements, walking or biking to work and sports.
The men and women were then sorted into daily activity quotas: less than 30 minutes, 30 to 60 minutes, and 90 minutes or more. The groups were monitored until they died or reached the age of 90. Issues that could affect longevity, such current or past smoking and level of alcohol use, were also taken into account.
Women who weighed less at age 20 and put on less weight as they aged were more likely to live longer than heavier women. Height played a major factor: the study found women who were taller than 5 feet 9 inches were 31% more likely to live into their 90s than women who were less than 5 feet 3 inches.
Neither height or weight seemed to factor into whether the men reached their 90s, but activity level did. Men who spent 90 minutes a day or more being active were 39% more likely to live to 90 than men who were physically active for less than 30 minutes. In addition, for each 30 minutes a day the men were active, they were 5% more likely to reach that age.
However, women who were physically active for more than 60 minutes a day were only 21% more likely to live to 90 than those who did 30 minutes or less. And unlike men, there was no bonus for increasing activity. In fact, the study found that the optimal level of activity for women was 60 minutes a day.
While the study is observational and cannot establish cause, the findings "provide interesting hints that men's and women's health might respond differently to BMI, height and exercise," said epidemiologist David Carslake, a senior research associate at the University of Bristol in the UK.