Gerontologists dealing with the treatment of the elderly and the issues of quality life expectancy have long noticed that women, on average, live longer than men. At the same time, slender and tall ladies, who keep approximately the same weight even in their declining years, more often than others celebrate almost centennial anniversaries. But how might height and weight be related to longevity?
100 year old stars
Almost all famous women, in their right mind and strong memory, have celebrated their centenary are the owners of a thin physique and relatively tall. Elderly and still working model Bo Gilbert (103), Russian singer Isabella Yurieva (d. 100), Hollywood actress Gloria Stewart (d. 100), German silent film actress Renata Brausewetter (d. 100), German film director Leni Riefenstahl (d. 101). All of them led an active lifestyle until the end of their days. Leni Riefenstahl, only 71, received her scuba diver's license and began her scuba and movie diving in the Indian Ocean, enjoying the opportunity of underwater photography. At the moment, a little more than 110 women live on the planet, whose age and more have been verified, and their health is closely monitored by specialists. None of these elderly ladies had a calm and luxurious life, they all had in their arsenal both ups, moments of happiness, as well as disasters and disasters. But surprisingly, they all maintained a relatively normal body weight to a ripe old age.
20 year experiment
How height and weight affect longevity, back in 1986, scientists from the Medical Center of the University of Maastricht, Holland decided to find out. For 20 years, they conducted a study of the lives of 120,852 men and women in the age group from 55 to 70 years. Doctors studied their physical data, collected information about activity in their free time. Moreover, it meant not only professional sports, but also, for example, gardening, dog walking, fishing, playing golf. The volunteers also reported on their food preferences, bad habits; many of them smoked and drank alcohol. The experts also took into account the intellectual level of the research participants. But the main focus of the doctors was on body size, height and weight of their subjects. Experts were interested in what characteristics people who will live to 90 years old will have. At the end of the experiment, scientists received certain data: 433 men and 944 women lived to be 90 years old, while most of these older women were above average height.
So the researchers calculated that women more than 175 cm tall were 31% more likely to reach 90 years than women less than 160 cm tall. Also, all centenarians kept approximately or even ended up having slightly less weight than at the beginning of the study. It turned out that women who were tall and who had lost kilograms during the experiment had more chances to live up to 90 years, in contrast to short women who gained additional body weight within 20 years. However, in males reaching their 90th birthday, weight did not have a strong effect on life expectancy. According to lead researcher Lloyd Brandts, all the elderly were of different heights, and neither tall nor short did not have a majority in the groups. But another factor was found in men: their chances of longevity were increased by daily exercise. It found that older Dutch people who did more than 90 minutes of physical activity a day were 39% more likely to reach 90 years of age than those who did less than 30 minutes of exercise.
The love of exercise influenced women as well, but even those who exercised for 30-60 minutes a day were 21% more likely to reach 90 years than women who spent less time on various activities. Bad habits and a sedentary lifestyle have left no one a chance to live even up to 85 years. However, Dr. Lloyd Brandts noted that overweight smokers, alcohol drinkers, smokers with a normal or even asthenic physique, all the same had almost the same chances of not living up to 85 years old. Tall women, who also have bad habits, but at the same time retained a thin body, still had more chances to celebrate their 80th birthday. As a result, the Dutch researchers found that physical data - height, weight, most of all affect the longevity of women, and daily, for example, hourly activity, seriously increases it.
Less calories, more exercise
But how does a lean physique directly contribute to longevity? What is the secret here? These issues were dealt with by the famous American biogerontologist, professor emeritus of the University of Nebraska School of Medicine, USA, Dr. Denham Harman. He believed that cutting the diet in calories, rather than in the variety of foods, helped to slow down the aging of the body. The less substances enter the tissue cells, the fewer decay and oxidation products are formed in them. Dr. Harman conducted several experiments in this area and found that reducing calorie intake by 40% reduces body weight and oxygen consumption by 40%.
At the same time, the average life expectancy also increases by 40%, because it is oxygen, along with excess energy, is spent on the formation of superoxide radical and hydrogen peroxide - harmful substances that contribute to the rapid aging of tissues. Therefore, any person's body should be kept in a lean condition and at the same time exercise daily. Throughout his life, Denham Harman never smoked, running 2 miles a day until he was 82 years old. At this age, he received a back injury and therefore further devoted his studies only to long-term walking. The biogerontologist died at the age of 98 and, according to his students, only because he sometimes drank alcohol and suffered a serious injury, due to which he would have to stop doing physical exercises for a long time. But he still kept a lean physique until his death.