Study: Live it up and live a long life

Heredity seen as top factor

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She argues that a healthy lifestyle coupled with good genes keeps people living longer.

“It’s a combination of your environment and heredity how long you live,” she said. “Everybody who smokes points to that person who is in their 90s who is still smoking. But they are rare. Your genes will only carry you so far. After that, you are responsible. Few of us know what our genetic construction is. They will say, our parents lived into their 90s, but they may have had a less stressful lifestyle and didn’t live in an urban environment exposed to toxic fumes.”

Dr. Barzilai was quick to caution that those who come from long-living families should not take that as a license to eat, drink and be sedentary.

“They should keep their weight down, exercise and do what their doctors say,” he said. “Because we still have to determine whether everyone inherits those genetic traits.”

Mrs. Jones adds one more factor that isn’t scientific but that she believes is key to living a long life: a positive attitude.

“I am stupidly optimistic. I enjoy the beauty of the world and see the good in things,” said Mrs. Jones, noting that she laughed long and hard during a summer viewing of the bawdy summer comedy film “Bridesmaids.”

Life of the mind is also key. “I am a political person and my mind is good, so I read,” she said of her interests. “There is much to enjoy, although there is much that I would like to do but can’t because I am too feeble.”

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