Posted on Nov 19, 2012, 6 a.m.
The precepts of the anti-aging lifestyle – including healthy diet, exercise, alcohol in moderation, and not smoking – help people to maintain physical and cognitive capacities as they age.
For most people, the ability to retain mobility, cognitive skills, respiratory function, mental health and enjoy a life free of chronic diseases, is a key facet to aging well. Severine Sabia, from University College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues studied a group of 5100 men and women, ages 42 to 63 years, who were enrolled in the Whitehall II study. The team defined a set of four healthy behaviors: namely, never smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, physical activity (2.5 h/wk or more of moderate physical activity or1 h/wk or more of vigorous physical activity), and eating fruits and vegetables daily. We defined successful aging, measured over a median 16.3-year follow-up, as good cognitive, physical, respiratory and cardiovascular functioning, in addition to the absence of disability, mental health problems and chronic disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes). The researchers revealed that people in the successfully aging group were younger than the normally aging group (mean age 49.7 versus 51.3 yr), and 81% were married compared with 78% in the second group and 71% in the deceased group. Successful agers were more likely to have higher education than the normally aging group (32% v. 24%) and 18% in the deceased group. In the study population, Observing that: “participants engaging in all 4 healthy behaviours had 3.3 times greater odds of successful aging,” the study authors conclude that: “Although individual healthy behaviours are moderately associated with successful aging, their combined impact is substantial.”
Severine Sabia, Archana Singh-Manoux, Gareth Hagger-Johnson, Emmanuelle Cambois, Eric J. Brunner, Mika Kivimaki. “Influence of individual and combined healthy behaviours on successful aging.” CMAJ, October 22, 2012.