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Age Ageing. 2018 Nov 1;47(6):853-860. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afy125.

Parental longevity predicts healthy ageing among women.

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Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
North American Menopause Society, Cleveland, OH, USA.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA.
Division of Population Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA.
MedStar Health Research Institute and Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Hyattsville, MD, USA.



to examine the association of parental longevity with healthy survival to age 90 years.


this was a prospective study among a racially and ethnically diverse cohort of 22,735 postmenopausal women from the Women's Health Initiative recruited from 1993 to 1998 and followed through 2017. Women reported maternal and paternal ages at death and current age of alive parents. Parental survival categories were <70, 70-79 (reference), 80-89 and ≥90 years (longevity). Healthy ageing was defined as reaching age 90 without major chronic conditions (coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, or hip fracture) or physical limitations.


women whose mothers survived to ≥90 years were more likely to attain healthy ageing (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.11-1.42) and less likely to die before age 90 (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.68-0.83). Women whose fathers survived to ≥90 years did not have significantly increased odds of healthy ageing but showed 21% (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.70-0.90) decreased odds of death before age 90. Women whose mother and father both lived to 90 had the strongest odds of healthy ageing (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.09-1.75) and decreased odds of death (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.54-0.85). The proportion of healthy survivors was highest among women whose mother and father lived to 90 (28.6%), followed by those whose mother only lived to 90 (23.2%).


parental longevity predicted healthy ageing in a national cohort of postmenopausal women, supporting the view that genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors transmitted across generations may influence ageing outcomes among offspring.

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