Thursday, November 22, 2007

What Made These Men Live to be 100 Years Old?

An important new study based on data from World War I draft cards, revealed that men who reached the age of 100 were, at age 30, young, trim farmers with 4 or more children.

The researchers Leonid and Natalia Gavrilova, both of the University of Chicago Center on Aging, said they were surprised that "having more than three children is beneficial to longevity -- based on previous studies by other authors, and common sense, quite the opposite could be expected." It seems to me this is a leap, or mistatement; that it's a correlation. Or the ability to father children. However, I leave that to you to connect the dots.

This research contradicts a current theory that "there is a trade-off between the number of children and [parental] longevity." In this sample, young fathers with many children lived much longer than other men in this sample. [emphasis mine]

Speculations why? Support by children in old age and good general health.

Why farmers? I would have thought the active lifestyle, but Gavrilov hypothesized that "people in the past had poor sanitation in towns, and hence a high infection load early in life ... Farms were more isolated, and so farmers were less likely to contract life-limiting illnesses."

Sutyd found overweight was detrimental, but there wasn't much difference between slender and medium build men, which counters animal studies which favor low-calorie diets and being skinny.

Marital status and height didn't correlate much. This is interesting because previous studies have linked shorter adult height with childhood infection and longevity.


Being trim and able to produce children indicates good physical health. Likewise, farming is an active occupation. There was speculation that the 'farmer' thing had to do with the relative isolation - at least from towns. Now, what else is there about the farming lifetsyle? For one thing, the control-monkey-stress experiments -- you are your own boss. What else? Especially if marital status didn't correlate. Share your hypotheses with me at .

To read the full article go here:
Farming, Fatherhood Hallmarks of Men Who Live to 100 - Men's Health - MSN Health & Fitness

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