Sunday, January 15, 2006

longevity predictors and factors

Dr. Erdman Palmore of Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development has found that the best predictor of longevity for men over age 60 is satisfaction in their work or volunteer activities. For women of the same age, it is the ability to function physically.
Other predictors of longevity are: being happy, avoiding tobacco, and enjoying sex. Less active people and those in poor mental and physical condition tend to be older than their years. Studies at the Normative Aging Study in Boston support the belief that people who appear to be biologically older than their years, actually are and, in fact, may stand a greater chance of dying sooner. Although American gerontologists have questioned the findings, one region where people of great age are said to live is in the Caucasus in the Soviet Union. While only 7 percent of the Soviet population lives in this area, 16 percent of the country's elderly and 35 percent of those of 100 years of age are found here.
Research shows that group longevity is determined by a combination of factors:
1. Ecological factors-a subtropical climate to which the population has biologically adapted in the course of many generations.
2. Genetic factors-some aspects of this adaptation have been reinforced genetically and transmitted to their descendants.
3. Morphological characteristics-small stature and muscular constitution.
4. Diet-little meat and hardly any animal fats, salt or sugar; they consume lots of milk products (especially cheese), fruits and vegetables.
5. Environment-generally live all their lives in the place where they were born.
6. Work-have always done the same kind of work, in farming or in the home, and continue to work as long as their strength permits.
7. Social factors-still see circle of friends and participate in various social activities.
While little evidence supports the idea, many person believe that the environment of city life may affect the elderly more negatively. One main reason is thought to be that city residents are unable to continue the type of work in retirement that they performed all their lives, and therefore experience a complete change in their daily routines. Those living in rural areas also seem to maintain closer ties with family and friends.
Kozlov, V. "The Fires of Winter," in Aging, Goldstean, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 35. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981. "Your Body and Mind As the Years Go By," in Aging, Goldstein, E. C., ed. Vol. 2, Art. 23. Boca Raton, Fl.: Social Issues Resource Series, Inc., 1981.

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