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Offspring whose parents have long lives appear to have lower heart risks in middle age

Individuals with one or more parents who survive to age 85 or older may have fewer risk factors for heart disease in middle age, according to a report in the March 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Previous research has suggested that the children and siblings of centenarians, who live to age 100 or more, also have longer-than-average life expectancies, according to background information in the article. Individuals whose parents were centenarians also are less likely to have heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, and tend to develop these conditions at later ages than those whose parents died younger. This supports the idea that avoiding or delaying cardiovascular disease is helpful in surviving to a very old age, the authors note

Dellara F. Terry, M.D., M.P.H., of the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues studied 1,697 members of the Framingham Heart Study, a large, multigenerational study of risk factors for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases that began in 1948 among residents of Framingham, Mass. All of the individuals included in this analysis had parents who also participated in the study and either lived to be age 85 or older or died before Jan. 1, 2005. The participants were examined between 1971 and 1975, when they were all age 30 or older (average age 40 years). Information recorded included education level, smoking habits, blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, body mass index and Framingham Risk Score, a combined measure of cardiovascular disease risk. Between 1983 to 1987, 1,319 of the participants were examined again, so the researchers could analyze how these variables changed over time.

In the initial group of 1,697 offspring, 11 percent had two parents who survived to age 85 or older, 47 percent had one parent who lived to that age and 42 percent had two parents who died before age 85. Framingham Risk Score was worst, on average, in indivi
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Contact: Gina DiGravio
617-638-8491
JAMA and Archives Journals
12-Mar-2007


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