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Religious People Live Longer

Self-reported attendance at religious services is linked with longevity.

Ohio State University scientists have examined two samples of more than 1600 obituaries looking for religion, marital status and social activities. They found religious people lived an average of 5.64 years longer than nonbelievers. When controlled for gender and marital status the advantage was 3.82 years. Religious values, prayer and mediation, and volunteerism may all help contribute to this advantage.

PositiveTip: Involvement in religious groups may extend your life!

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Midlife Physical Fitness Conveys Lower Risk for Cancer

High midlife fitness was associated with lower cancer deaths later in life.

Men in the highest fitness level when tested in mid-life had a 50% lower incidence of lung and colorectal cancer (but not prostate cancer) after age 65 compared to those in the lowest fitness category. Those who who did develop any of these three cancers after age 65 lived longer when they were physically fit during midlife.

PositiveTip: Midlife physical fitness reduces the risk of certain cancers and decreases the chances of dying from those cancers later.

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Compounding Health Choices

Diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol all affect your health, but especially when combined.

Swiss researchers looked at the health risks of poor diet, irregular exercise, smoking and high alcohol consumption among 16,700 Swiss men and women. Smokers were most likely to die prematurely, but people with all four risk factors were 2.5 times more likely to die. However, people free of all risk factors could increase their life expectancy by up to 10 years.

PositiveTip: Invest in your future by fostering healthy habits now. 

PressRelease  Journal Article

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The Hazards of Becoming an American

Burgers the size of plates are not blessings.

Not everything about the American lifestyle is conducive to good health. Foreign-born Hispanics live about three years longer than those born in America. Our wages may be higher and we have a very sophisticated healthcare system--but immigrants also want to adopt the American lifestyle of smoking, drinking, sedentary living, and high calorie diets. The New York Times quoted a recent immigrant saying, "this is really a country of opportunity. Look at the size of the food!"

PositiveTip: In a land of plenty, restraint and self-control are essential to good health.

Live Longer with Lower Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D written in sand

Studies of the role of vitamin D in human physiology indicate that vitamin D is involved in bone formation, the growth and development of immune cells, and stimulation or inhibition of blood vessels in cancer. Those who have lower levels of vitamin D are found to have higher death rates from heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and several kinds of cancer. Low vitamin D levels also adversely affect, multiple sclerosis, allergies, asthma, infections, and depression.

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Simple Test Predicts Longevity

Using the least support necessary to sit and rise from the floor can predict longevity.

How well can you sit on the floor and rise again without support? This simple test could predict your chances of long-term survival! Brazilian researchers studied 2002 participants for at least 6.3 years and found the survival odds differed by 5.44 fold between the highest and lowest scores (use of hand, forearm, knee, side of leg, or hand on the knee for support) after adjusting for age, sex, and body mass. This simple test reflects muscle strength, coordination, balance and flexibility.

PositiveTip: Stay involved in a variety of activities to maintain strength, function, and balance.

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People Living Longer, but Living Sicker

It's not getting older that costs more healthcare dollars, its getting old with risk.

Americans may live longer thanks to the availability of advanced medical care, but the proliferation of chronic diseases and preventable problems lowers the quality of life. Almost 10% of the population has diabetes, 27.8% are obese, and 30.8% are diagnosed with hypertension. A fascinating fact in this report is that low-risk people over 50 cost less than those 30+ years old at high risk!

PositiveTip: The healthful choices you make to lower risk may yield more than all the medical breakthroughs!

Walk Faster, Live Longer

A study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined the walking speed of older adults to see how it affected their life expectancy. The study analyzed the results of nine other scientific studies as well.

All nine studies combined together totaled more than 34,000 senior adults, 65 years of age and older. Their average age was 73. Sixty percent were women, and 80% were white. This group was followed for 6 to 21 years. In all the studies there were 17,528 deaths.

Researchers measured walking speed at the beginning of the study, by timing subjects at their normal, comfortable walking pace for a distance of about 13 feet. 

Normal walking requires teamwork in the body starting with the muscles, bones, and joints. Its also a workout of the heart, lungs, and circulation, coordinated by nerves and the brain.

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A "Longevity Gene" May Protect Against Cognitive Decline

Long-life may indeed be in the genes

The genetics of late-life dementia, although complex, are getting a lot of attention these days. The gene for chlolesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) codes for a specific amino acid within the human genome. A majority of those who live beyond 100 have valine at codon 405 and lower cardiovascular risk. A prospective study of 523 individuals over 70 has revealed this polymorphism of valine to isoleucine may also protect from dementia. Much more work remains to be accomplished before we can be certain there is a Methuselah genotype.

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Being a Little More Fit Will Improve Your Longevity

Study shows being a little more fit than couch potatoes gives large benefit to longevity.

New research has underscored the surprising importance of being a "little more fit". In this study 4384 healthy people were divided into five levels of fitness. This research focused only on the differences between the least fit (Q1) and the next level of fitness (Q2). Amazingly, those in Q2 demonstrated almost half the mortality of those in Q1. Being even a little more fit was associated with a big jump in longevity. While overall activity levels didn't vary much during the subjects adult lives, recent activity did. This recent physical activity seemed to offer the benefit.

PositiveTip: Get off the couch, start moving, and keep moving--it should add years to your life!