Fewer Risk Factors Mean Longer, Healthier Life for Middle Aged Men
If you're a middle-aged man, your life span depends on your risk factors. That's the result of a study that shows risk factors such as overweight, smoking and drinking have an impact on the odds of a longer, healthier life for men in their middle years
Schmalfeldt: If you're a middle-aged man, your life span depends on your risk factors. That's the result of a study that shows risk factors such as overweight, smoking and drinking have an impact on the odds of a longer, healthier life for men in their middle years. The study, funded in part by the National Institute on Aging and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and published in the November 15 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that the chances of living to age 85 and above was as high as 69 percent for gents with no risk factors, and as low as 22 percent for fellows with six or more risk factors in middle age. Winifred Rossi is Deputy Director of the Geriatrics and Clinical Gerentology Program at the NIA. She discussed some of the finding.
Rossi: People who survived to age 85 years or older had better grip strength in middle age, which suggests they may have been more physically fit. And they also tended to be thinner in younger and middle adulthood. And in middle age they had better profiles of insulin sensitivity, which is something that is associated with both the risk of diabetes and also of cardiovascular disease.
Schmalfeldt: The study tapped data from the Honolulu Heart Program and the Honolulu Asia Aging Study which for 40 years has tracked the health status of thousands of Japanese-American men living in Hawaii. Rossi said that although further study is needed to see if these results translate directly to all American men, this study does lend to other literature that shows there are modifiable risk factors in middle age that can affect a person's chances for a longer, healthier life.
Rossi: The study focused purposely on things that could be measured easily in the population and also looked at factors that people could modify during their lifetime. So, by exercising and avoiding gaining too much weight, eating in moderation, drinking in moderation, not smoking, and going to the doctor regularly to check on regular health status, men can contribute to healthier and longer survival according to this study.
Schmalfeldt: The research team was led by Dr. Bradley J. Willcox of the Pacific Health Research Institute and Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.