The Anti-Aging Dividend
The anti-aging lifestyle can add 25.3 more years of productive lifespan. Maximize the return on your health investment with the A4M Longevity Portfolio.
Anti-aging medicine is beneficially influencing society-wide health. David Cutler, from Harvard University (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected between 1991 and 2009 from nearly 90,000 individuals who responded to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), allowing researchers to link survey responses to participants' Medicare records for the rest of their life – effectively enabling a determination as to exactly how far participants were from death when they answered the survey. "With the exception of the year or two just before death, people are healthier than they used to be," observes the lead investigator, elaborating that: "Effectively, the period of time in which we're in poor health is being compressed until just before the end of life. So where we used to see people who are very, very sick for the final six or seven years of their life, that's now far less common. People are living to older ages and we are adding healthy years, not debilitated ones. …People are much better educated about their health now."
[David Cutler, Kaushik Ghosh, Mary Beth Landrum. "Evidence for Significant Compression of Morbidity in the Elderly U.S. Population," Discoveries in the Economics of Aging. National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., 2013.]
Indeed, the anti-aging lifestyle can add 25.3 more years of productive lifespan. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the longest-living Americans are Asian-American women residing in Bergen County, New Jersey USA. They live longer than any other ethnic group in the United States – to an average lifespan of 91.8 years. In contrast, the Harvard team found that the shortest-living Americans are Native American populations in South Dakota, despite receiving free or low-cost government provided medical care – living an average lifespan of 66.5 years. As a group, the Bergen County women have ready access to preventative health services, consume a healthy diet, received higher education, are/were professionally employed, and enjoy a network of family and friends. These are proven life-extending factors that – when combined, exert a synergistic effect on longevity. These factors are also the cornerstones of the anti-aging medical model.
[“Bergen County, NJ is long in longevity,” New York Times, September 12, 2006; “Asian women in Bergen have nation’s top life expectancy,” Free Republic, September 12, 2006; “Asian-Americans live well in Garden State,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15, 2010.
Presently, there is no “magic bullet” to prolong the healthy and vital lifespan. A number of studies suggest practical, “here-and-now” approaches that may help you enhance and/or extend your healthy, vital, productive lifespan:
- Four for More: University of Zurich (Switzerland) researchers assessed data collected on 16,721 participants aged between 16 and 90 years, enrolled in the Swiss National Cohort (SNC). The team correlated data on tobacco consumption, fruit consumption, physical activity and alcohol consumption for the study subjects with the corresponding deaths up to 2008. Identifying the four main risk factors for NCDs as: tobacco smoking, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol consumption, the researchers translated the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle into numbers. An individual who smokes, drinks a lot, is physically inactive and has an unhealthy diet has 2.5 fold higher mortality risk in epidemiological terms than an individual who looks after his/her health. The study authors conclude that: “The combined impact of four behavioural [non-communicable disease] risk factors on survival probability was comparable in size to a 10-year age difference.”
[Martin-Diener E, Meyer J, Braun J, Tarnutzer S, Faeh D, Rohrmann S, Martin BW. “The combined effect on survival of four main behavioural risk factors for non-communicable diseases.” Prev Med. 2014 Jun 2. pii: S0091-7435(14)00189- 3.]
- Three Keys Counter Cellular Aging in Women: The protective endcaps of chromosomes that affect how quickly cells age, telomeres are combinations of DNA and proteins that protect the ends of chromosomes and help them remain stable. Telomere shortening is associated with a weakening of structural integrity, and is thought to be a mechanism of aging. Scientists from the University of California/San Francisco (UCSF; California, USA) examined three healthy behaviors, namely – physical activity, dietary intake and sleep quality – over the course of one year in 239 post-menopausal, non-smoking women. The women provided blood samples at the beginning and end of the year for telomere measurement and reported on stressful events that occurred during those 12 months. In women who engaged in lower levels of healthy behaviors, there was a significantly greater decline in telomere length in their immune cells for every major life stressor that occurred during the year. Yet women who maintained active lifestyles, healthy diets, and good quality sleep appeared protected when exposed to stress – accumulated life stressors did not appear to lead to greater shortening. Observing that: “Women who maintained relatively higher levels of health behaviors (1 [standard deviation] above the mean) appeared to be protected when exposed to stress,” the study authors submit that: “This finding has implications for understanding malleability of telomere length, as well as expectations for possible intervention effects.”
[Puterman E, Lin J, Krauss J, Blackburn EH, Epel ES. “Determinants of telomere attrition over 1 year in healthy older women: stress and health behaviors matter.” Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 29.]
- Healthy Lifestyle Benefits Men’s Hearts: Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) team followed 20,721 healthy Swedish men aged 45-79 for 11-years. The researchers assessed participants’ lifestyle choices through a questionnaire exploring diet, alcohol consumption, smoking status, level of physical activity and abdominal fat. Results revealed a clear reduction in risk for heart attack for each individual lifestyle factor the participants practiced was observed. For example, eating a low-risk diet coupled with moderate alcohol consumption led to an estimated 35% lower risk of heart attack compared to men in the high-risk group – those who practiced none of the low-risk factors. Whereas men who practiced all of the low-risk factors (non-smokers, walked or cycled for at least 40-minutes per day, exercised at least 1-hour per week, waist circumference below 95 centimeters, consumed moderate amounts of alcohol, and ate a healthy diet) had a 86% lower risk compared to the high-risk group. "
[Åkesson A, Larsson SC, Discacciati A, Wolk A. Low-risk diet and lifestyle habits in the primary prevention of myocardial infarction in men: A population-based prospective cohort study. J Am Coll Cardiol 2014;64:1299-1306.]
To gain quality – and perhaps, extend the quantity – of your lifespan, it is paramount to avoid chronic disease. An estimated four in five older Americans live with multiple chronic medical conditions. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland, USA) researchers colleagues warn that the more ailments you have after retirement age, the shorter your life expectancy. The team analyzed data collected on 1.4 million study subjects, finding that the average decline in life expectancy is 1.8 years per each additional chronic condition—ranging from 0.4 fewer years with the first condition to 2.6 fewer years with the sixth condition.
[DuGoff, Eva H.; Canudas-Romo, Vladimir; Buttorff, Christine; Leff, Bruce; Anderson, Gerard F. “Multiple Chronic Conditions and Life Expectancy: A Life Table Analysis.” Medical Care. 52(8):688-694, August 2014.]
To stay updated on the latest practical, “here-and-now” approaches that may help you enhance and/or extend your healthy, vital, productive lifespan, visit The World Health Network, www.worldhealth.net, the official educational website of the A4M and your one- stop resource for authoritative anti-aging information. Be sure to sign up for the FREE Longevity Magazine® e-Journal, your weekly health e-newsletter featuring wellness, prevention, and biotech advancements in longevity.