Even for adults aged 75 years and older, keeping up a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and not smoking, is associated with increased life expectancy, according to a study published online Aug. 30 in BMJ.
Debora Rizzuto, from the Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm
University, and colleagues examined the modifiable factors that are
associated with longevity in a population-based cohort study involving
1,810 adults aged 75 or older. Participants were followed up for 18
The researchers found that 91.8 percent of participants died during
follow-up and that half the participants lived longer than 90 years.
Compared with non-smokers, half of the current smokers died 1.0 year
earlier. Physical activity was the leisure activity that correlated most
strongly with survival. For participants who regularly walked, swam, or
did gymnastics, the median age at death was 2.0 years greater than
those who did not engage in physical activity. Individuals with a
low-risk profile (healthy lifestyle behavior, participation in at least
one leisure activity, rich or moderate social network) had a 5.4-year
longer median survival than those with a high-risk profile. Even for the
oldest old (aged 85 years or older), a low-risk profile was linked with
a four-year higher median age of death than a high-risk profile.
"The associations between leisure activity, not smoking, and
increased survival still existed in those aged 75 years or more," the
authors write. "Our results suggest that encouraging favorable lifestyle
behaviors even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably
by reducing morbidity."
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