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Centenarian Offspring Stay Healthy Into Their 70s

They have few heart attacks, strokes compared to those whose parents didn't live to 100

TUESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- People in their 70s whose parents reached the age of 100 have a dramatically lower risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes than those in their 70s whose parents had a normal life span, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Emily R. Adams, of Boston University, and colleagues studied 440 centenarian offspring and 192 referent cohort subjects who had a median age of 72 when initial health questionnaires were collected between 1997 and 2006.

After mean follow-ups of 3.5 years for the centenarian offspring and 3.9 years for the referent cohort subjects, the researchers found that centenarian offspring were 78 percent less likely to have a heart attack, 83 percent less likely to have a stroke and 86 percent less likely to develop diabetes. They also found that centenarian offspring were 81 percent less likely to die during follow-up. There were no significant group differences in the new onset of other age-related diseases.

"Studies have consistently shown that centenarian offspring have a lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude. "The most recent results suggest that centenarian offspring retain many of their vascular advantages as they age, further reinforcing the importance of cardiovascular health in achieving exceptional old age as well as the familial nature of longevity."

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